NOW INCORPOR ATING MENâ€™S FITNESS
PAUL RUDD IS BACK IN ANT-MAN & THE WASP
Epic Motorcycle Road Trip FROM ALASKA TO ARGENTINA
THE BEST BEERS T O T RY N O W
JULY 2018 Vol. 27, No. 7
THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE
TOUGHEST MAN IN AMERICA
THE BEST SUMMER EVER A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE INSIDE
BREITLING BOUTIQUE NEW YORK • MIAMI • ORLANDO SAN ANTONIO • LOS ANGELES LAS VEGAS • WASHINGTON DC DENVER
The Breitling Jet Squad Jacques Bothelin Christophe Deketelaere Paco Wallaert
Is There Anything Paul Rudd Can’t Do? He can play the world’s tiniest superhero. Appear to age in reverse. Wear the “nice guy” label without giving up his edge. Walk on water? We wouldn’t be surprised. By Mickey Rapkin
Summer School From A (Airstream) to Z (Zebco), a comprehensive guide to acing the year’s best season.
The Legend of John Arthur He’s been shot. Stabbed. Fought in mob-run death matches. He’s arrested and killed some of America’s worst criminals. And now he’s coming clean. By Stayton Bonner
34 Style Hawaiian shirts have never looked better.
10 Adventure Tackling 30-foot breakers in Maui—on a standup paddleboard.
26 Food Celebrity chef Jose Enrique on pig roasts, rum punch, and the other perks of Puerto Rican living.
This summer, go for a gose—an ancient German brew that is tart, salty, and impossibly refreshing.
The Aston Martin Vantage finds the sweet spot between raw performance and dropdead looks.
GE AR L AB Canoe—check. Hammock—check. Coolers—check. All the stuff worth hauling for a day on the water.
52 Tents 28 Dispatch A running club with an alcohol problem— welcome to the world of hashing.
Quench your thirst this summer, no matter how hard you push yourself.
45 Life on the Lake 27 Drinks
56 Hydration Packs
They’re lighter, more innovative, and better designed than ever—however you prefer to sleep outside. MEN’S JOURNAL
57 Tennis Racquets with more pop and better ball control to help you rule the court.
89 Health and Fitness The ultimate resistance-band workout; the best way to zone out; how to get fit on an SUP; the benefits of pineapple; and more.
THE L AST WORD
112 Craig T. Nelson The voice of Mr. Incredible on racing cars, ignoring critics, and surviving Hollywood.
PREVIOUS PAGE: RUDD WEARS JACKET BY TOM FORD, SHIRT BY APC. THIS PAGE FROM LEFT: ALEX MANNE; MICHAEL GRAYDON; GREGG BLEAKNEY
Letters As a fan of both laughter and women, I applaud your choice of Anna Faris as your token lady interview [“We’re With Her,” by Sarah Z. Wexler, May 2018]. She’s hilarious and adorable in so many films—Smiley Face, The Dictator, House Bunny... I feel bro-sad for Chris Pratt for no longer being able to call her “wife,” but—oh well, better chances for the rest of us. DYLAN COLE LAKE STEVENS, WA
MILLION DOLLAR BABY My wife and I laughed at the article about Scott Eastwood [“Shoot to Thrill,” by Josh Eells, April 2018]. “There were no handouts”—did he actually say that with a straight face? He grew up shuttling between Los Angeles, Hawaii, and Carmel, California, living with his mom or dad when the occasion suited him. Poor guy actually had to bus tables for a few
weeks. How does one afford a house outside San Diego on an acre and a half on that salary? Oh, that’s right, he’s got the last name Eastwood. There is no way that Scott has lived a life of anything but leisure, doing what he wants, when he wants. That’s fine, but just don’t act like you’ve earned it without your daddy’s help. WILLIAM BANKS LAS VEGAS
CONTACT US: TWITTER @mensjournal FACEBOOK facebook.com/ MensJournal INSTAGRAM @mensjournal EMAIL email@example.com SEND LETTERS to MEN’S JOURNAL, 4 New York Plaza, New York, NY 10004 Letters become the property of Men’s Journal and may be edited for publication. SUBSCRIBER SERVICES Go to mensjournal.com/customerservice Subscribe • Renew • Report Missing Issues • Pay Your Bill • Change Your Address
HIKING HEAVEN I enjoyed “Heretics in the Holy Land” [by Mark Jenkins, May 2018], your story about the guys from Wyoming who went climbing in the Sinai desert. In 1999, my son Zachary and I went on a wonderful backpacking trip on the Sinai Peninsula. There were five hikers, several Bedouin guides, and an Israeli guide. There was a local Arab administrator, to whom we had to give our passports. Although this troubled me, our guide assured us that he would return the passports at the end. It was an amazing week, hiking into dry wadis and up and down hills, and sleeping under what appeared to be a gazillion stars. We swam in an oasis pool in the middle of the desert and climbed what is thought to be Mount Sinai. For my son and I, it was a terrific bonding experience. At the end of the week, the administrator did return our passports, and we returned to Israel. It is a shame that with all the conflict in the Middle East, more hikers can’t experience the beauty of Sinai. HOWARD W. SILBERSHER PRINCETON, NJ
DRONE ZONE Regarding your article on consumer drones [“Cheap Thrills,” by Jesse Will, May 2018], I would like to have seen some more information on the ethical and legal considerations when using these. What are the rules for operating in a residential area, at a public gathering, on roads, and near airports? When may I legally blast one of these pests out of the sky with my 12-gauge? What can we do to stop these peeping drones from disturbing our privacy? CHRIS WEINOLD SAN DIEGO
COFFEE JITTERS I’m both fascinated and horrified by $2,000-a-pound coffee [“The Coffee Freak,” by Clint Carter, May 2018]. If I try it, how will I ever even look at my two-buck diner endless refill without feeling like I’ve failed? BEN J. EDGERTON JERSEY CITY, NJ
Correction: In the June 2018 story “New Ram, No Rules,” the 2019 Ram truck was incorrectly referred to as the Dodge Ram. MJ regrets the error.
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Letter From the Editor
HE SEASON IS defined
w h e n w e ’ r e y o u n g. Th i n k ab out it : For about 17 years, you look forward to that day— school lets out and summer officially begins. The rush of freedom mixed with long, hot days is intoxicating. And the feeling never goes away. Sure, we don’t get to just walk off the job in June (dare to dream), but around Memorial Day we all start to breathe just a little bit easier. I know I do. Summer, for me, as an adult, is defined by getting to do most of my favorite things: spend more time with my kids, cook big cuts of meat outside, go on epic daylong bike rides, drink beer in the sun, and watch ridiculous amounts of baseball. This year I’m thinking of expanding my summer roster. I want to do more camping, improve my tennis game, maybe plant a vegetable garden. Worthy but modest goals, which are def initely subject to change when day drinking enters the picture. We’ve dedicated a big chunk of our July issue to helping you figure out how to crush the year’s best season. “Summer School” (page 66) takes an encyclopedic, A to Z approach, trumpeting both the classics (F is for fireworks) and the soon-
to-be classics (S is for switchel), with some genuinely helpful info mixed in (P is for poison ivy). Naturally my attention was immediately drawn to W (whole hog), where we offer a concise breakdown of how to cook a beast in your own yard. It’s an all-day affair, so you’re going to want to study Y (yard games) too, for tips on how to rule the cornhole court while you wait to replenish the coals. There’s more summer fun sprinkled throughout the issue. Gose beer (page 27) is the one new brew you’re going to want when the weather heats up; f ish collars (page 24) are the secret, chefendorsed part of a protein perfect for grilling; and our roundup of lake-ready gear (page 45) will have you hightailing it toward the nearest water hole. And when you’re there, why not get in a good workout, too? A highlight of this issue’s Blueprint section are a few exercises you can do on a standup paddleboard for increased stability training, as well as a great routine with heavy bands, the best new way to do pushups, and a summer fruit with secret recovery gains. When you do get to put your feet up, we have a few great suggestions for binge reads (“Scenes of the Crimes,” page 40). But don’t forget to put this issue of Men’s Journal in your beach bag so you can read Stayton Bonner’s incredible prof ile “The Legend of John Arthur,” on page 78. You’ve certainly never heard of this 68-year-old boxing trainer, but his life story—including mob-run death matches, undercover drug busts, and ’80s Hollywood icons—is unforgettable. As is the career of our cover star, Paul Rudd, who is funny, likeable, handsome, and the master of aging in reverse. On page 58, Mickey Rapkin finds that he’s exactly as much fun to hang out with as you’d think. So, without further delay: “School’s out!” Gave you chills, didn’t it?
GREG EMMANUEL Chief Content Officer
Breaking Good RED POMPERMAYER CHASES big waves around the globe. As a top
surf photographer, he constantly monitors the forecast and ocean conditions to time his outings. No matter whether big swells are breaking in California, Fiji, or Tahiti, “if the conditions come together, I’ll be there shooting,” he says. Such was the case one January morning at Jaws on Maui’s North Shore, when he captured Kai Lenny, a standup paddleboarder and surfer, riding this 30-odd-foot swell. “Nobody is doing what he’s doing with a standup paddleboard right now,” Pompermayer says of Lenny. “He’s basically one of the few guys who can HAWAIIAN ride in this kind of condition, on this size wave.” To get the ISLANDS shot, Pompermayer was on a jet ski. Even so, the ocean made taking the photo no simple task. “Sometimes the wave breaks far out, and sometimes the barrel will be MAUI more inside,” he says. “You have to read the water the whole time to make sure you’re in a good spot.” He estimates that he took between 3,000 and 5,000 photos that day to get this standout. “I’ve never experienced a day like that before. It was perfect.” —J.R. SULLIVAN
photograph by FRED POMPERMAYER
At Jaws on Maui’s North Shore, Kai Lenny rides the barrel of a 30-foot wave, generated by a strong El Niño and hurricanes in the Pacific.
what we’ve come here for: peacock bass, a Technicolor beauty that can grow to 20 pounds. They are infamous for destroying lines and tackle when they strike, and, once hooked, can take an hour to land. Redd’s is only a juvenile—five or six pounds—and she soon has it on land. Next up is Bruce Mazur, a close friend of mine and lifetime fisherman, who quickly hooks and lands a second, bigger one. “All that stuff you learn over the years about sneaking up on the fish and trying to trick them with perfect casts—none of it matters here,” Bruce says, marveling. “This is feral fishing, wild. You blast it out there and hold on tight.” After Bruce comes Juan Carlos Lenz, the software entrepreneur and fly-fishing fanatic MEN’S JOURNAL
who brought us all together. After a few graceful throws, his line is buzzing and he’s heaving against another fish. By the end of the afternoon, we’ll have landed more than a dozen monster peacocks. Even I, a f ly-fishing neophyte, hook one. Lenz grins when he returns from releasing his catch, a 13-pounder he fought for a scant 10 minutes. He beams and says simply, “Colombia.” You can fish for peacock bass from Florida to Brazil, Panama to Singapore, but until recently it was almost impossible to chase the
Peacock bass, top, may be the world’s toughest fighting fish. Even better, getting to them requires an adventure in its own right.
GREGG BLEAKNEY (2)
your feet to scare off electric eels,” says our fishing guide, Dani Herrera, as he wades upstream into the mirrorclear waters of Colombia’s Río Elvita, on the country’s eastern flatlands, near the Venezuela border. Nothing in his voice suggests he’s joking, so we follow him, holding our rods overhead with both arms when the river’s current flows up to our necks. A few hundred feet upriver, we clamber onto a sandy bank and begin casting into the shade beneath bushes growing along the banks. Rebekka Redd, a professional angler who jumped at the chance to come along on what would be her second trip to these waters, throws the first cast, and after just a
CARIBBEAN SEA Santa Mart Mou
fish in Colombia, even though the country’s rivers are teeming with them. For decades, the eastern half of the nation, a spiderweb of streams tumbling down from the Andes to the Orinoco and Amazon rivers, was controlled by separatist FARC rebels. This wild land is jungled and steamy and ideal for hiding, and guerrillas and drug traffickers drove most Colombians out of the region. It wasn’t only in the east, either: The risk of fighting and kidnapping made travel outside of Bogotá, Medellín, and other major cities too dangerous for decades. But after a landmark peace accord in late 2016, tensions have eased and the outer regions are opening up to locals and tourists alike, who are f locking to the country in record numbers. Travelers are now exploring untouched seaside villages, birding and hiking trails in jungles that are among the most biodiverse on the planet, and high-alpine road and mountain bike rides that have forged a generation of the world’s leading pro cyclists. Today, Colombia, in large part because it
Colombia’s civil war meant that the only reliable transport was small bush planes, and today that’s still the primary method of travel in the eastern plains.
up f lying, following his father’s example by enrolling in the Civil Air Patrol, a nonprofit collective of civilian pilots that use their small planes to transport doctors to remote regions. The organization f lies 12 weekend brigades
each year, one per month, transporting 60 doctors each time. The pilots help where they can in the villages, but there’s often downtime. So Lenz, who is as passionate about f ly fishng as he is about flying, began packing along his rods and reels. On one trip, he landed at a cattle ranch on the f lanks of the Orinoco Basin owned by a friend from Bogotá. He’d brought only a single lightweight rod, and when he tried fishing the Río Elvita, a peacock bass snapped off the tip on his first cast. He returned the following week with a burly 0-weight rod. “It was the best days of fishing of my life,” Lenz remembers. “My arm was so sore, I was almost tired of fishing. Almost.” Through his f ishing exploits, Lenz met Daniel Herrera, a board member of the largest fishing club in Colombia. A matchstick
Cycling | A V E L
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Surfing the Wild Coast | A V E L
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story about his rise, ending with him at the helm of a successful aircraft-leasing business. Without bush planes, there would be no fishing in Colombia. That goes for tourism across the country: While the threat of kidnappings is what kept travelers off the roads even just a few years ago, now that that risk has disappeared, it’s the lack of real highways and the prohibitive travel times that make it necessary to fly almost anywhere you go. So
FROM TOP: EL CANTIL; F1ONLINE DIGITALE BILDAGENTUR GMBH/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Diving in the Pacific | L
next day, the thatched-roof structures are still lacking floors and plumbing and look like they could be months away from their (assuredly gorgeous) finish. Instead, we camp on mosquito net– covered foam mattresses on the patio at the old farmstead, where we meet 34-year-old Carlos Restrepo, one of Wild Luxury’s main investors and owner of the 64,000-acre ranch. Restrepo, who camps alongside us, tells a rags-to-riches
of a man with a face that’s creased from years on the water, Herrera ran a f ishing lodge in Costa Rica for more than a decade before recently returning to Colombia to help launch a nascent ecotourism operation. The company, Wild Luxury, is building high-end lodges in five locations around the country that will offer jungle hikes, bird-watching, horseback rides, natural springs for swimming, and, of course, f ishing. Our trip in the Orinoco and Amazon basins is Herrera’s opportunity to debut the business. “Now that we have a peaceful country, we want to open it up,” he says. “But we have to do it the right way.” The first lodge, which will open in December, is on a farm called El Recreo, which has access to the river we’ve been fishing all afternoon, Río Elvita. The potential for sport fishing in Colombia parallels its tourism prospects as a whole. Though tourism here is seeing huge growth— up 150 percent since 2010—it’s still in its infancy. In 2017, the country had 6.5 million visitors. But the rapid growth is putting pressure on the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development to craft a master plan to deal with its parks and wild places. “We have incredible places, incredible resources. And it feels like our time has finally come,” says Herrera. “But if you step back, there are just as many challenges.” That’s the first thing you learn in Colombia: nothing here is ever as straightforward as it appears. As we break down rods in the dark after fishing, a couple of Toyota Hiluxes roar onto the property in a cloud of dust and headlights to transfer us to El Recreo. Though Dani tells us that El Recreo’s lodges will be ready for business in two weeks, when we visit them the
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after two days on the Elvita, we hop aboard a Piper Arrow for a three-hour f light to La Macarena to fish the Río Guayabero. Though its proximity to two national parks is turning it into a budding ecotourism destination, La Macarena was the seat of power for the FARC guerrillas during the war. The town is back in government hands, but the vestiges of the strife—AK-toting soldiers patrolling the street corners and infantry boats on the Río Guayabero—are still visible. Even as the FARC rebels have assimilated into the political system, many Colombians can’t forget the atrocities committed during the war. We motor an hour upriver in 40-foot-long canoes to a basic lodge called El Raudal, where Wild Luxury plans to build a series of modern cabins. In the river below, guests will cast for payaras, or vampire fish, which Dani says have bones like plates of armor, saber tooth–style fangs, and a strike more brutal than lightning. El Raudal sits at the mouth of a basalt canyon marking the start of Cordillera de los Picachos Natural National Park. The lodge manager, José Rubio, says that the Ministry of Environment recently changed the rules that once allowed fishing up the canyon. The move was aimed at curbing illegal commercial trawling, but it also technically banned sport fishing, too. Herrera and a local ecotourism group are appealing the law in hopes of gaining an exception for catch-and-release f ishing, but the situation is f luid. “It’s like the Wild West,” Lenz says. “There’s everything available here and everyone is rushing to claim a stake, and that leads to both great things and to new problems. But we have to start somewhere.” With our expectations muted by the new restrictions, we clamber down to the river, where the first half-hour of casting seems to bear out the overfishing. At first, we catch nothing. But then, just as discouragement is
On the prowl for payaras, or vampire fish (pictured below), so named because, well...just look.
setting in, a patch of the river surface the size of a VW begins to seethe and boil across the channel. Fist-size baitfish explode from the water like popcorn, followed occasionally by the silvery f lash of a payara, teeth blazing. If you’re quick enough to toss your f ly into the roiling mess, more often than not one of those vampires will devour it. The energy is manic during these boils. It’s impossible to throw out your line and strip it back quickly enough, over and over again until something hits. Once hooked, the fish rise and leap and pirouette on top of the water as if electrified. Redd is the f irst to snag one, and she motors off in the boat to give the fish more room to run. Hers will be the biggest the group lands, a 25-pound payara with fangs
practically the size of bananas. Then one hits Bruce’s line, and he cries out like he’s been tasered. The fight is outrageous, like 30 minutes of f lying a kite in a hurricane. “Oh, my shoulder!” Bruce bellyaches after we turn the fish loose. “That’s like standing in a dark room waiting for a Doberman to rip your arm off.” Still, he smooths his fly, strips out line, and casts for another. In Colombia, where rebels are coming out of the jungle shadows for the first time in a generation, politics are as stable as they’ve been in decades, and the tourism industry is finally gaining traction, you have to fish while the fishing is good. Q
Birding | A V E L
FROM TOP: GREGG BLEAKNEY (2); JUAN JOSE ARANGO/VWPICS/REDUX
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It’s standard procedure to book a game drive while in Africa. But at Phinda Vlei Lodge, on a private, protected reserve, there’s no need for a Jeep—the safari is right outside your door. by RYAN KROGH
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Riding the Americas Four U.S. Army vets had a plan so crazy it just might work: saddle up for a 5,000-mile journey by motorcycle, from Alaska to the tip of South America, and become the first team to do it entirely over land. by CLINT CARTER
T WAS ALWAYS GOING to be
For 43-year-old Mitchell and his teammates—Mike Eastham, 50; Simon Edwards, 54; and Rich Doering, 59; all of them U.S. Army vets, all fighting like hell against the pangs of middle age—this was the moment of truth. It was the day they would know whether their long-shot gambit to ride their Kawasaki KLRs from Deadhorse, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, would f ly. So far they’d covered 9,618 miles, having passed through Canada, the U. S., Mexico, and Central America. The Gap, besides its political uncertainty, would also likely be the team’s biggest physical challenge. For starters, it’s a dense, unforgiv-
ing jungle, and it’s the only break in the Pan American Highway. Plus, it’s heavily guarded by Senafront officers, who are fond of turning away anyone for just about any reason. Last year, for example, six men from the British military tried to be the first to complete the same journey. But citing danger from drug runners, human smugglers, and groups of lawless bandidos, local authorities denied the Brits access to the Darien region at the last minute. The men were forced to fly themselves and their motorcycles over the jungle, leaving the coveted first-ever, entirely overland distinction still up for grabs.
The crew at rest in front of Patagonia’s Mount Fitz Roy.
photographs by ALEX MANNE
In Alaska, the crew battled whiteout conditions, nearconstant darkness, broken headlamps, and –18 temperatures. Below, Edwards shows off his brow-cicles.
So as the Americans are led into the office of Senafront’s deputy director general, it feels like a coin f lip is going to decide their fate. Instead, it’s about as easy as it gets. The man stands from his desk and smiles and then, speaking through a translator, says: “Today there is peace between the Colombians and the FARC,” the guerrilla army that once ruled the Gap with a bloody fist. “So you can go into the jungle.” “Thank you, sir,” Mitchell says. As a gesture of gratitude, he hands over a Gerber knife, a gift from the team’s primary sponsor. Among other things, Gerber supplied the group with a 9,400-pound cargo van that they affectionately call the Black Boar. It’s following along with the three-man camera crew that’s filming for a future documentary. Back at the hostel, the team sits down with a local f ixer, a Frenchman named Michel, who helped set up the meeting with Senafront and is now corralling indigenous Kuna men to guide the team through the Gap. Surrounded by backpacking Germans sipping cervezas in lounge chairs, Michel spreads out a map and opens a file folder filled with legal documents. He collects passport numbers and creates a plan to pass along to Senafront officers in Yaviza, where the Gap begins. He assures the team that they’ll have dugout canoes ready to carry them along the rivers that lead into and out of the jungle. “The boats are used to carrying 40,000 plantains,”
says Michel. “So they can carry your motos.” “Our bikes weigh about 450 pounds,” says Mitchell, anticipating trouble. “That’s your problem, not mine,” Michel replies. Edwards laughs. Doering drops his head onto the table. Eastham, who’s been to Panama a dozen times for military jungle training, listens intently. He’s the only one who truly understands what it’s like in there. “I know how miserable it will be,” he says. “I think it will be eye-opening to everyone else.” Turning back to the map, Michel tells the guys where to move fast to avoid conf lict and where it’s safe to set up camp. Then he snaps his file closed, wishes them luck, and leaves. Suddenly the guys seem buoyed by optimism. “A year ago this sounded impossible,” says Mitchell. “Now it might actually happen.” T H E I D E A FO R T H E M I S S I O N goes back 14 years, when Mitchell was in charge of a
Doering, left, and Edwards inspect a map somewhere in Baja California, Mexico.
After the initial conversation, Mitchell called Eastham every six months to present a new angle on the trip. By the time Eastham was set to retire from the Army, he was on board. By 2015, the guys had begun planning in earnest. First, they recruited a couple of other
To get through Panama’s Darien Gap, the crew hired local guides to help them push
crew—two cameramen and a driver—who could document the journey. And finally, they pulled together sponsors to help with gear and funding. The whole trip, they figured, would cost $150,000. Adventures of this scale tend to have clear motives, but for the veterans’ two-continent tour, which they dubbed “Where the Road Ends,” the goal was simple: Complete the mission. If there was a higher meaning, it would have to reveal itself on the way or afterward—or maybe never. “The big question for
and pull their bikes in the jungle.
The team floats one of the bikes across a river.
THE BIG QUESTION FOR EACH RIDER IS WHY THEY’RE DOING THIS. THESE GUYS CAN’T REALLY ANSWER THAT IF YOU ASK THEM. I’VE TRIED. soggy old fuckers sitting around talking about their glory days in the war.” Groups like the Heroes Project and Veterans Expeditions demonstrate how exposure to wilderness can help former soldiers cope with life after war. Their success makes it easy to see Where the Road Ends as a form of self-medication. The guys aren’t just checking off miles. They’re dosing themselves with the adversity, danger, and teamwork they need to keep their shit together. “We’ve all seen and done horrible things,” says Mitchell. “You shouldn’t ever have to take somebody’s life, but the reality of it is that when you’re in this job, you see death.” If this trip accomplishes one thing, even if the team’s members are reluctant to say so explicitly, it’s to provide a new way to frame the experience of life after military service. “To be honest, I’m tired of hearing about posttraumatic stress,” says Mitchell. “You can use the skills that you learned in the military to make the rest of your life more rewarding. We don’t want our time in the military to be the one defining thing in our lives.” So on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the four former U.S. Army men set out on 650cc dual-sport motorcycles f ixed with custom sidecars to provide the stability they’d need during the first leg of the journey. In order to reach the Darien Gap during Panama’s dry season, they had to start in the dead of the Alaskan winter, where 35-mile-per-hour winds blasted sheets of snow so thick they could see only the ghost of the pavement in front of them. “I didn’t think we had a prayer of getting through,” says Edwards. And day one only hardened his doubt. They were 135 miles north of the Arctic Circle, just starting up 4,739-foot Atigun Pass, when Edwards’ electrical system malfunctioned amid the snowstorm. “I had no headlight, no taillight—nothing,” he says. They started taking shelter in their tents when a truck rolled up. “You guys got the latest weather?” asked the driver, a security guard from a nearby oil-pump station. “It’s just building.” The temperature was expected to dive deeper into the negatives, and the
At the end of the road. From left: Mitchell, Edwards, and Eastham.
winds would soon reach 50 miles per hour. “You make it to Atigun, that might be your best shot,” said the guard. So after drilling fresh studs into their tires, the team drove on with Edwards navigating by the glow of Mitchell’s taillight, the only thing he could see. They made it out of the wind and fixed the bike’s electrical system. But a few days later, in British Columbia, a car hit ice, skid out of control, and smashed into Doering. The collision crushed the bike’s radiator assembly and tore off a turn signal, and Doering was rushed to the hospital in the back of an ambulance. X-rays revealed no broken bones, but Doering was rattled. Afterward, he struggled to keep up with the group on the twisty roller-coaster roads in northern California. But if near catastrophes were common, so were moments of encouragement. In Costa Rica, a Kawasaki owner’s club threw a rowdy party in their honor. In El Salvador, a stranger invited them to spend a couple of recovery days at his coffee plantation in the mountains. They’d experienced highs and lows, but none of them felt completely prepared for the jungle that lay ahead. “It’s going to be fucking miserable,” says Eastham. IN THE END, they made it through, but they lost Doering. Mud as thick as concrete caked around his tires and burned out his clutch. And after the accident in British Columbia, he’d had enough. He left his bike in the jungle, backtracked out of the Gap, and f lew home to Alaska. The next day, Mitchell and
Edwards lost their clutches, too, which left only Eastham’s motorcycle operable. After discussing their options, the guys decided to keep moving. They’d come too far to turn back, and for the next six days, with the help of their Kuna guides, they pushed their bikes through the jungle. They strung rope bridges to sling the machines over ravines, and they loaded them into canoes in places where the river was deep enough to float. By the time they reached Turbo, the Colombian city on the southern side of the Gap, they’d exhausted their resolve. They holed up for 10 days of recovery, and when finally they were back on the road, they’d lost nearly three weeks to pre- and post-jungle logistics. So the last six weeks were a sprint to the finish. Mitchell, Edwards, and Eastham had jobs and families to return to, and they’d need to cover 240 miles a day to finish on time. They passed through the Andes Mountains and the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth. They detoured to see Machu Picchu, but otherwise stayed the course. On March 27, they reached Ushuaia, making them the first people to ride the entire length of the two continents on motorcycle in one continuous trip. Over five months, they’d ridden nearly 19,000 miles and covered the entirety of North and South America. They’d seen temperatures as low as –18 and as high as 100 as they passed through mountains, deserts, arctic cold, and sweltering tropical heat. During the journey, they’d had four birthdays. They’d dealt with smashed radiators, electrical shorts, and countless hours negotiating with border agents. By their estimate, MEN’S JOURNAL
Scenes from the road, from top: dinner at a free campground in Chile; camping under the stars in Patagonia; negotiating the insane traffic in Peru.
30 percent of their time was spent dealing with setbacks and adjustments. “There were times I wanted to quit,” says Edwards. “Like, we’re going to get killed for something stupid. But then you get a good night’s sleep, and a good meal, and you’re over it.” They kept going, driven by an idea as elusive as it was powerful: All men suffer, but smart men choose how they suffer. They don’t do it quietly or alone. They do it heroically, among brothers, with engines revved high and roaring. “There are guys sitting at home watching a football game, drinking a beer, and talking about the good old days in the war,” says Edwards. “And then there are guys out doing the next, best, exciting thing. I want to be the latter.” Q JULY 2018
GAIN ST A S H INY
center-cut f illet, a f ish collar would never win a beauty c ont e s t . But t he moist, fatty f lesh locked inside that bony triangle tucked between the fish’s gills is the most flavorful part of the fish. Think of it as you would dark meat on a chicken—then plan to grill some this summer. To match the richness of the fish collar, you need an intense marinade. Sunny Jin, executive chef of Paws Up, a luxury wilderness resort in Montana’s Blackfoot Valley, channels his mother’s traditional Korean recipe, marinating the cut for four hours in soy sauce, honey, and rice wine. But patience with the slow marinade pays off with a rapid cook time—“Just a quick grill to caramelize the sugars and crisp the skin,” Jin says. Collars from any medium to large f ish will work—salmon, halibut, tuna, and yellowtail are all delicious options. If you don’t see them out for sale—and you probably won’t—just ask the f ishmonger. “Collars are by-product for most people,” Jin says. The upside: “You’ll probably get them for pennies.”
Hot Around the Collar ½ cup honey ½ cup rice wine 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 sweet onion, sliced 2 shallots, sliced 1 bunch scallions, chopped 1 tbsp ﬁnely minced garlic
minced ginger 1 jalapeño, sliced (optional) Salt and pepper to taste 4 salmon collars Toasted sesame seeds, for serving
1. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, rice wine, and sesame oil and mix until honey has dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the collars and half the scallions, mix, and let rest for 10 minutes. Add collars, cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours. 2. Grill over medium-high heat about 20 minutes, starting bone-side down and flipping halfway through, until medium-rare. (Be careful that the grill is not too hot, as the honey in the marinade will burn.) Sprinkle with sesame seeds and remaining scallions, and serve.
photograph by MICHAEL GRAYDON
Jim Beam Black® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 43% Alc./Vol. ©2018 James B. Beam Distilling Co., Clermont, KY.
GO-TO REFRESHER LIQUOR AND FRUIT
KEY COOKBOOK FOOD & LIFE
SECRET SAUCE PORK FAT
BRING THE HEAT
For Puerto Ricoâ€™s de facto culinary ambassador, Jose Enrique, life in San Juan means family pig roasts, aged-rum coolers, and working to help repair an island still reeling from natural disaster.
GRILLING GEAR DO-GOODER HURRICANE RELIEF
S; FOOD STYLING BY VICTORIA GRANOFF FOR CORNELIA ADAMS
1 MODERN TIMES BEER FRUITLANDS, 4.8% ABV
2 DOGFISH HEAD CRAFT BREWERY SEAQUENCH ALE, 4.9% ABV
AVERY BREWING CO. EL GOSE, 4.5% ABV
photograph by MARCUS NILSSON
4 LOST NATION BREWING GOSE, 4.5% ABV
5 TWO ROADS BREWING COMPANY PASSION FRUIT GOSE, 5.2% ABV
One for the Road Often described as a running club with an alcohol problem, the “sport” of hashing—a race that incorporates beer stops along the way—is now an underground hit. Bottoms up!
H E H A S H E R S are pissed.
Eight of us, in Lycra and ratty running shoes, are standing on a traffic island outside the entrance to the Clarendon Metro station, in Arlington, Virginia. It’s 33 degrees out. Rain is beating down, and we’re wishing it was a few degrees colder so it’d be dry snow instead of wet slop. The holdup is that 15 stragglers are still getting sloshed in Liberty Tavern, today’s meeting spot. Off the curb to the right is a hasher nicknamed Doc Cock, who is moving crates of beer around the back of a beat-up cargo van. He’s the only sober one, and he’ll meet us mid-trail with the van, full of more beer to chug. To lighten the mood, the crew breaks into song: Why are we waiting? Could be fornicating. Why are we waiting so fucking long!? This is the White House Hash House Harriers (WH4), a D.C.–based club of like-minded individuals who run together but drink along the way. Think of it as an endorphin-laced
Clockwise from top left: A hasher on the course; One Hit Her Quit Her downing a pint during a mid-race pit stop; the crew making fools of themselves—all for fun.
version of a bar crawl, in which everybody pokes fun at everybody. “Hashing gives people an outlet to be more laid-back and free than in their daily lives,” says a young woman with the hashing name Penis Fly Trap (PFT), one of WH4’s co-leaders. “That may mean cursing or f lashing, but mainly it’s being authentic. And a little juvenile.” As we sing, the stragglers begin to trickle in, and the leaders, including PFT and ICHY— short for I Cunt Hear You—step forward. Nicknames of hashers relate back to some inglorious misdeed. ICHY got hers for casually stealing police tape roped around some kind of crime scene; when an off icer shouted at her, she pretended to be deaf. Soon enough, Close Your Eyes and Hope for the Breast bounds up the MEN’S JOURNAL
photographs by JOHN LOOMIS
long stretch of sidewalk, too. Breast’s powerful frame is topped off with a rugby helmet. A bag of lime-green chalk powder dangles from his belt. Breast is one of today’s hares, the folks who plan and mark the course. He was out this morning with some of that green chalk, tagging Arlington’s streets and sidewalks. But unknown to us, another D.C.-area hash house had run through Arlington this morning, too, and one of their trails had been marked in the same green chalk, tangling the two courses. “I’m gonna get called out for this,” Breast says. “Just watch. I’ll get a beer poured over my head, or have to sing some song.” WH4 runs every Sunday in D.C. but never the same course. The “races” are in the threeto 10-mile range, across roads, in parks, and through the occasional monument. Today, more than 25 people have showed up, a mix of men and women who range in age from their 20s to a lifelong hasher in his 60s who worked at the Pentagon. One woman, who says she works for the government, holds her hand over her face to block my view. Two more hashers ask to be kept out of photographs and won’t even tell me their hash monikers, let alone their real names. Many of D.C.’s hashers are diplomats, ambassadors, and other government black-tie types who don’t want their employer to know they’re in an obscene running club that drinks all day. “It’s a weird, quirky subculture, and as with any subculture, it can be misjudged,” PFT says. Hashing began in 1938 with British colonials in what is now Malaysia; they loosely based the sport, if you can call it that, on foxhunting. The idea was to improvise a course so these Brits could sweat out the previous evening’s booze with the promise of more beer at the end, at a restaurant called the Hash House. In the 1970s, hashing started to spread across the globe. There’s no accurate record of how many people do it, because it’s decentralized, but hashing chapters are still on the rise. In the 1980s, there were a few dozen chapters worldwide. Today there are about 2,000. Most large American cities have at least one hash house. During the hash, runners pause halfway through to meet the beer van for more booze. Along the way, there are lewd drinking songs and lewd sex songs, and brief bits of occasional nudity. Nobody knows the route they’re about to follow except for the hares who laid down clues in f lour or chalk. It’s designed to keep people bunched up, because those in the lead are constantly looking for the next clue. Which is exactly how every WH4 run plays out. “Virgins! Up front!” PFT howls upon starting in downtown Arlington, calling out all newbies. Two people from upstate New York step forward, as do two from Atlanta. I move forward, too, and the f ive of us step into a circle of people, who sing us a song about getting us drunk and putting stuff up our asses. Bestowed upon me in revelry and generous grace is the honorific title Men’s Urinal, for the magazine that sent me here. “If you want to run, go fast,” PFT says; then she nods her purple hair toward Breast, who’s
practically already vanishing. So I take off, sailing over a curb into the street, then through three lanes of bumper-to-bumper cars and onto the next sidewalk. On the tail end of the runners, I bound through quaint residential areas and then through a flooded gravel courtyard. The line of runners weaves through foot traffic that retreats out of the way with deer-in-theheadlights looks. Rain runs down my face and into my eyes so relentlessly that it makes no sense to keep clearing them. For 15 minutes I run as fast as I can. Roads are crossed in two steps. Blasts from a tin whistle tell me somebody has found a clue, and I sprint toward the noise. “Go back!” somebody yells. WH4 is one of the hash houses that lays false clues. You follow one mark, two marks, and then find nothing or a “fuck you” mark that means you need to retrace your steps and look for the correct fork. We go like this for an hour, running and slowing to a crawl as we fan out to look for clues and running once more, and then break for a mid-trail drink at the beer van. Then we go for another hour. As we all share drinks again at the end of the trail, before heading to the postrace bar, people call out grievances that are mostly ways to have fun at others’ expense. “It happens if somebody tries to show off, or if they talk too much, or if somebody feels like making something up to get someone else in trouble,” Breast says. Like if you wear nice new shoes, they’ll pour beer over your head. Some have to sing, most are forced to drink, all are insulted. Breast gets called into the lineup, and they sing him a song about how shitty his trail was, and he drinks as punishment. Somebody calls out a guy named How Much Wood Could a Woodfuck Fuck if a Woodfuck Could Fuck Wood for having an annoyingly long name. At the end of the hazing, we head for Summers Restaurant, which is, most importantly, also a bar. Pitchers of beer land on the tables and are chased by straight whiskies, Jack-and-Cokes,
The D.C. hashers celebrate along the course (below). The longtime hasher Ginger Snatch (above).
and some ginger ale concoction I’ve never seen. For all its sadistic delight in political incorrectness, hashing ropes in a crazy variety of people. Today’s group includes young fathers and mothers, two gay couples, a conservative gun enthusiast, and obvious liberals. “That’s the best part of hashing,” says Fingergrgrgrgrgr, a married guy in his 30s. “You get all kinds.” We ran three miles today, which is short. Most are twice as long. But every hash ends at a bar like this, friends drinking off the last hours of the weekend before they have to wake up Monday morning and put on suits or cashier’s uniforms—at least until the next Sunday. “We’re all equals here,” says Stapler, another hasher. “It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, how much money you make, or what you do in your private life. You can’t ‘win’ the hash, because it’s not a competition. But everyone wins because there’s beer at the end.” Q
SKINCEUTICALS MICROEXFOLIATING SCRUB
AESOP TREE LEAF FACIAL EXFOLIANT
OLIVINA MEN EXFOLIATING ALL-IN-ONE SCRUB
AVEDA BOTANICAL KINETICS EXFOLIANT
EVERY MAN JACK VOLCANIC CLAY FACE SCRUB
Sailboat to Go Face it, a boat is a commitment. Not so the Tiwal 3 Inflatable Dinghy. It can be packed down into two duffels and loaded into a car as small as a Fiat 500 (with the back seats down). Forget docks and moorings—just drive to a body of water and set up the nearly 11-foot Tiwal in as little as 20 minutes. The result is a V-shape hull and carbon mast that make for easy and fast sailing. From $5,400; tiwahl.com
The Bare-bones Bicycle Don’t get us wrong—we love a high-end carbon whip with electronic shifting and a wheel set lighter than a feather. But sometimes you just want to head to work or the coffee shop on a steel machine that will get you reliably from point A to point B. The State Bicycle Co. Pigeon CoreLine, with its single-speed flip-flop hub and 40mm wheels, is that bike— and it’s nearly as lust-worthy. Nearly. $299; statebicycle.com
The Stylish Camera Bag The Runner’s Shades If you’re hitting the trails this summer, the Adidas Sport Eyewear Zonyk Aero Pro is the perfect pair of sunglasses: plenty of ventilation, adjustable, and scratch resistant. Plus, they look hardcore enough to mask lousy splits. From $159; adidassporteyewear.com
Shutterbugs, rejoice. The Hex Geo Camo DSLR Backpack has everything you need in a bag—water-resistance, adjustable interior dividers, tripod straps—but looks as cool as anything else you’ll see at the coffeehouse. Unfortunately, it costs as much as that used spare lens $200; hexbrand com
The Badass Board
The Clip-on Fins No more waddling to the dive site like a penguin: The innovative Aquabionic Aquatic Binding System consists of sneaker-like spo shoes that attach to clip-on interchangeable fin blades when you’ ready to jump in the water. $299; cetatek.com
Arbor’s already-cool skateboards meet the talents of Atlanta-based tattooist and artist Henry Hablak for the Arbor Artist Collection Hablak. The boards themselves come in five designs, in sizes that range from penny to longboard. Isn’t it time for a new toy? From $130; arborcollective.com
Island Time It’s been a wild ride for the Hawaiian shirt. But after more than 80 years of going in and out of style, the summer look is back—and it’s never looked better.
photograph by NIGEL COX
Summer beach wedding? Try one of these with a navy or khaki linen suit—and skip the tie.
The Silent Scrambler This innovative new dirt bike uses no gas, spews no smoke. by JEFF DENGATE
WE’RE WITH HER
Bryce Dallas Howard The Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom star on her lifelong love of scaly creatures, growing up with a famous father, and what it’s like to put on 35 pounds for a TV gig. by SAR AH Z . WEXLER
Your recent projects include Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Pete’s Dragon. What’s the deal with you and reptiles? Hah. I shot Pete’s between the two Jurassics. Basically, if you’re scaly and it’s unclear whether you’re naughty or nice, I’m totally into working with you. Do you remember what it was like watching the original Jurassic Park? My parents didn’t let us watch TV, but we watched movies all the time. I was 12, and my parents weren’t sure whether it was OK for me to see it. They went opening night, and I distinctly remember they came home and my dad [actor-director Ron Howard] was like, “This is cinema history. You have to see this in the theater.” I went the next day. Boy, am I grateful he said that. The first time I saw the CGI dinosaur, it blew my mind. I burst into tears. I just felt overwhelmed. Did it make you want to get into acting? Our house was, like, all movies all the time. But at that point in my life, I wasn’t thinking at all about being an actor or really about any job yet. I just loved being around movies. I’m a film nerd, and it was totally a father-and-daughter thing for me and my dad to get really wrapped up in
but I didn’t feel it was quite the right time for him yet. When we were shooting the second one in Hawaii, we sat down next to each other and watched the first one. Was he as moved as you were when you saw your first CGI dinosaur? Well, he’s a man of few words, so when I asked, “What did you t hin k?” he just sa id, “Good.” As far as I’m concerned, that’s an amazing review.
THE BASICS Age
Go-to Karate Move
Growing up, did you watch a lot of movies with your dad? Yeah, I went to his film sets when he was directing, and we would watch all of his favorite films again, again, and again. I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at least 15 times; same with The Graduate. Later I got really into Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves. It’s almost pornographic, and I was like, “This is weird. Is this my sexual awakening?” I watched all my favorites like 20 times. It sounds like your dad made an effort
Your son is around that same age. Has he seen you in Jurassic World? When the first one came out, he was like, “Mom, all of my friends have seen it,” 038
to keep you away from the spotlight and maybe acting. I grew up in Connecticut. None of us had social media or phones or the internet or anything. I wasn’t exposed to Hollywood premieres and awards shows and all of that. Instead, I got to be a regular kid. I was just super into karate. I forget about it, and then I’ll be training for something physical in a role, and they’ll be like, “Can MEN’S JOURNAL
You gained 35 pounds for your role on Black Mirror. How’d you do that? I ate around the clock. First thing in the morning, last thing before I closed my eyes. I’d have food by my bed. I’d get up in the middle of the night and have a chocolate bar.
Was it hard to lose the extra weight? I trained a lot, used the rower, did CrossFit—the workouts definitely got really intense. But it was fun. I’m like a dog—you have to walk me. I have to go out for my run or I’ll chew up the furniture. It seems male actors gain weight for roles more often than female actors do. Well, how many movies are raising their hand to say, “The lady who’s on the magazine cover who looks like that—we want that but more”? I wish that were the case. But it’s changing now, and we’re aware of it, and it’s getting talked about. That’s a good thing. A lot of people gain weight from alcohol, but I read that you don’t drink. I actually waited until I was 21, since it was illegal. But by then, I had seen a bunch of people puke their brains out at parties, and I was like, “That’s not a good look. It’s not for me.”
I’M LIKE A DOG—YOU HAVE TO WALK ME. I HAVE TO GO OUT FOR MY RUN OR I’LL CHEW UP THE FURNITURE. these geeky but specific movie things. At the time, I knew what a huge leap Jurassic Park was for our industry, and for storytelling, and for what was possible. It was a groundbreaking moment.
you throw a punch?” and I do it, and they’re like, “Whoa.” It was all those tournaments, all those hours spent breaking boards.
No wine, huh? How do you unwind? In terms of relaxing, I wouldn’t say I always do a great job of that. But my favorite thing is when the kids are asleep and I crawl into bed and I just spread out books, like 12 books, and journals all over my bed. That just gives me so much relaxation. Interesting. Even your relaxation is multitasking. I’m sooo chill. Q
photograph by MARTINA TOLOT
Scenes of the Crimes Four beach-worthy reads about real-life cons, kidnappings, mobsters, and more.
by J. R . SULLIVAN
THE DESERT AND THE SEA
CITY OF DEVILS
A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
BY MICHAEL SCOTT MOORE
BY PAUL FRENCH
BY MIKE STANTON
BY BLAKE ELLIS AND MELANIE HICKEN
WIMBLEDON EDITION If there was ever a year to watch Wimbledon, this is it—even if you’re not a tennis guy. Here are the stories and stars you need to follow.
Nadal Wants His Shot
BEYOND THE BLOCKBUSTERS Three highly entertaining alternatives to the season’s big-budget flicks. AMERICAN ANIMALS
Inspired by a true event, this drama follows four pals as they attempt a foolhardy heist: steal a set of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, worth millions, from their university’s special collections library. Interviews with the real thieves appear throughout the film, one of the many ways that it’s anything but a predictable crime flick. (6/1) LEAVE NO TRACE Directed by Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), this drama centers on a vet
(Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, who live off the grid in the Oregon wilderness. Once discovered, the pair struggle to adjust to their new lives, with devastating results. (6/29) SORRY TO BOTHER YOU In this nutty comedy, Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta) plays a telemarketer who rises to company stardom after he masters his “white voice” to sell more product, and he soon gains access to an insane world of drugs, orgies, and genetic testing. (7/6) —J.R.S. MEN’S JOURNAL
In April, Rafael Nadal, another top contender, suggested that Federer is avoiding him, after he backed out of the clay-court season, where Nadal dominates. That means Nadal’s first chance to take down Federer will come on the grass courts of Wimbledon, where you can expect a serious showdown should the longtime rivals meet.
Will Serena Make History? Serena Williams, after sitting out Wimbledon last year for her pregnancy, hopes to return and snag her 24th Grand Slam title, to tie Margaret Court’s all-time record. But she has struggled to get back on the court after childbirth and withdrew from the Australian Open in January. Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova could also thwart her efforts.
Zverev’s Upset Potential German player Alexander Zverev, 21, generated tons of buzz last August when he beat Federer in the Rogers Cup. This season Zverev has continued to play well and could pull a surprise win in London.
NICK KROLL: RAMONA ROSALES/AUGUST. MEL BROOKS: JACK MITCHELL/GETTY IMAGES. WIMBLEDON: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS-POOL/GETTY IMAGES
In 2017, after five years without a Wimbledon win, Roger Federer secured his eighth singles title, an achievement he followed up with an Australian Open victory in January. In doing so, the Swiss superstar staged one of the greatest comebacks in tennis history. Can he continue the streak by defending his Wimbledon title? Andy Murray will likely prove Federer’s toughest challenge, if he can recover from hip surgery in time.
ES SE NTIAL S FOR THE WE LL- EQUIPPE D MAN
The Quicker Dry PACKTOWL LUXE
A typical beach towel will almost invariably overstuff your pack for a hike to the swimming hole. The microfiber Luxe is a third of the bulk, plus it dries quicker and fights mildew, thanks to a silver chloride in the fabric. And yes, it feels just as plush. packtowl.com
The Burlier Ice Bucket OTTERBOX VENTURE 45 COOLER BIG AGNES THREE FORKS SHELTER
Keep the midday sun from cutting your venture short. This shelter provides enough shade to cover a picnic table, and it’s built like a high-end tent, with lightweight aluminum poles that set up easily and taped seams th top leaks if a rainstorm strikes. bigagnes.com
The 45-quart cooler’s two-layer insulation and innerand-outer shell construction store ice for up to two weeks while trays keep everything organized and protected from crushing. Opt for the all-terrain wheels (a $250 add-on) if you want to go full tilt. otterbox.com
OLD TOWN CASTINE FROM $1,300 LIFEPROOF AQUAPHONICS AQ10
speaker is equipped for all-day partying: s 13 hours of battery life and can conto up to eight devices, so DJ duties can divvied up. And when someone dancing knocks it into the water, no sweat—because it floats, too. lifeproof.com
The Castine is built for comfort, with a low, formfitting, highly adjustable seat and thigh braces that cocoon you inside, leaving you free to concentrate on paddling. And with three sizes, from 13'6" to 14'5", it’s simple to get yours just right. oldtowncanoe.com
A Hang Session for Two ENO FUSE TANDEM SYSTEM
The Ideal Chair, Anywhere GCI WILDERNESS BACKPACKER CHAIR
In backpack form, GCI’s chair is an easy carry to the choicest locations, leaving your hands free to haul other gear. Unfold it and you’ll have a decadently comfortable throne, complete with four positions of recline, a comfy mesh backrest, and a head pillow for napping no matter where you are. gcioutdoor.com
A Compact Kitchen PRIMUS KUCHOMA
The Camp Guitar
Despite its small size and light weight, this foldable 8,500-Btu grill—made from stainless steel and brass—lets you cook with both indirect and direct heat, so you can nail a mediumrare steak without overcharring your veggies. primus.us
RECORDING KING DIRTY 30S SERIES 9 PARLOR GUITAR
A laser-cut, solid-spruce top and some impressive cross bracing inside give this budget acoustic guitar a tone you’d expect only on a much more expensive one—making it perfect for campfire sing-alongs. recordingking.com
A Board for All RED 10'6" SE MSL SUP
Red’s attention to detail on this inflatable standup paddleboard—from a more effective pump to better grab handles and an easy-carrying backpack—make for a board that is light and portable enough to bring anywhere. redpaddleco.com MEN’S JOURNAL
Chuck Taylor All Star Perforated Low Top CONVERSE
A classic, updated for hot summer days. Diamond-shaped cutouts bedeck the cowhide-suede uppers of these low-top Chucks. They don’t just look cool—they keep your feet cooler, too. converse.com
Phil Lace FORSAKE
The suede-and-canvas Phil features a casual easy look, but it’s sneakily capable should you want to wander off the sidewalk. The low-profile but hightraction outsole and a sweat-wicking upper lend an assist in long after-work
They look dropped from space, but the Deerupts have roots on Earth: The grid motif comes from Adidas’ 1980s running shoes. Here the mesh gives its stretchy upper a socklike fit. A bonus: That upper crushes down to minimize luggage space. adidas.com
Kicks to Go Ditch the overengineered running shoes. These light, comfortable sneakers are perfect for lazy summer activities—and can be crushed between beach reads in your weekend travel bag. by JESSE WILL 048
Benjamin Overdyed Nylite TRETORN X ANDRÉ 3000
These retro canvas sneaks are reborn, with help from the rapper of “So Fresh, So Clean” fame. Seems appropriate: The Nylites are both, thanks to an uncluttered canvas upper with a single crisp painted logo. eastdane.com
DON’T LET UNCONTROLLED MODERATE-TO-SEVERE ECZEMA HOLD YOU BACK
Summary of Information about DUPIXENT® (dupilumab) (DU-pix’-ent) Injection, for Subcutaneous Use What is DUPIXENT? • DUPIXENT is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) that is not well controlled with prescription therapies used on the skin (topical), or who cannot use topical therapies. • DUPIXENT can be used with or without topical corticosteroids. • It is not known if DUPIXENT is safe and effective in children. Who should not use DUPIXENT? Do not use DUPIXENT if you are allergic to dupilumab or to any of the ingredients in DUPIXENT. See the end of this summary of information for a complete list of ingredients in DUPIXENT. What should I tell my healthcare provider before using DUPIXENT? Before using DUPIXENT, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you: • have eye problems • have a parasitic (helminth) infection • have asthma • are scheduled to receive any vaccinations. You should not receive a “live vaccine” if you are treated with DUPIXENT. • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known whether DUPIXENT will harm your unborn baby. • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known whether DUPIXENT passes into your breast milk. Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. If you have asthma and are taking asthma medicines, do not change or stop your asthma medicine without talking to your healthcare provider. How should I use DUPIXENT? • See the detailed “Instructions for Use” that comes with DUPIXENT for information on how to prepare and inject DUPIXENT and how to properly store and throw away (dispose of) used DUPIXENT pre-ﬁlled syringes. • Use DUPIXENT exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. • DUPIXENT comes as a single-dose pre-ﬁlled syringe with needle shield. • DUPIXENT is given as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection). • If your healthcare provider decides that you or a caregiver can give the injections of DUPIXENT, you or your caregiver should receive training on the right way to prepare and inject DUPIXENT. Do not try to inject DUPIXENT until you have been shown the right way by your healthcare provider. • If you miss a dose of DUPIXENT, give the injection within 7 days from the missed dose, then continue with the original schedule. If the missed dose is not given within 7 days, wait until the next scheduled dose to give your DUPIXENT injection.
• If you inject more DUPIXENT than prescribed, call your healthcare provider right away. • Your healthcare provider may prescribe other topical medicines to use with DUPIXENT. Use other prescribed topical medicines exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to. What are the possible side effects of DUPIXENT? DUPIXENT can cause serious side effects, including: • Allergic reactions. Stop using DUPIXENT and go to the nearest hospital emergency room if you get any of the following symptoms: fever, general ill feeling, swollen lymph nodes, hives, itching, joint pain, or skin rash. • Eye problems. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new or worsening eye problems, including eye pain or changes in vision. The most common side effects of DUPIXENT include: injection site reactions, eye and eyelid inﬂammation, including redness, swelling, and itching, or cold sores in your mouth or on your lips Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of DUPIXENT. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA 1-800-FDA-1088. General information about the safe and effective use of DUPIXENT. Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Patient Information leaﬂet. Do not use DUPIXENT for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give DUPIXENT to other people, even if they have the same symptoms that you have. It may harm them. This is a summary of the most important information about DUPIXENT. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for more information about DUPIXENT that is written for healthcare professionals. For more information about DUPIXENT, go to www.DUPIXENT.com or call 1-844-DUPIXENT (1-844-387-4936) What are the ingredients in DUPIXENT? Active ingredient: dupilumab Inactive ingredients: L-arginine hydrochloride, L-histidine, polysorbate 80, sodium acetate, sucrose, and water for injection Manufactured by: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Tarrytown, NY 10591 U.S. License # 1760; Marketed by sanoﬁ-aventis U.S. LLC, (Bridgewater, NJ 08807) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Tarrytown, NY 10591) / DUPIXENT is a registered trademark of Sanoﬁ Biotechnology / ©2017 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. / sanoﬁ-aventis U.S. LLC. All rights reserved. Issue Date: April 2017
Blaze a Trail And look great doing it. Thanks to smarter silhouettes, tough, technical hiking gear is finally ditching that backwoods look. by JESSE WILL
2/ FILSON ALAGNAK Long sleeves are a must in high alpine areas, where the weather can change instantly from blazing sunshine to driving rain. The ultralight Alagnak sets you up well—its nylon fabric is rated at UPF 50+, dries quickly, and wicks sweat; button tabs help stow the sleeves. And it’s stylish enough that you’ll look great back in town when you’re done. $98; filson.com
3/ FJALLRAVEN GREENLAND PANTS These tough trousers toe the line between function and fashion. The rugged polyester-cotton blend fends off thorny brush, while the slim cut makes for easy movement on the switchbacks. Challenge: Use the map pocket for an actual map and leave your phone in the glove box. $150; fjallraven.us
4/ SMARTWOOL EVERYDAY EXPLORATION HENLEY Woven from a blend of sweat-wicking, stink-fighting merino wool and quicker-drying polyester, and cut with a slender, athletic profile, this Henley can go from trail to town without making you look (or feel) like you’re wearing workout or hiking gear. $75; smartwool.com MEN’S JOURNAL
5/ LULULEMON COMMISSION SHORTS Don these hybrid shorts–swim trunks before setting out for the swimming hole. They’re made of stretch polyester fabric that dries quickly, and the cut provides plenty of room for your man parts while hiking, lessening the likelihood of chafing. And the back pocket has a zip to keep your stuff safe. $88; lululemon.com
Perfect Pitch Today’s tents are lighter, more innovative, and better designed than ever—no matter how you prefer to sleep outside. by RYAN STUART
Eddie Bauer Katabatic 3 $699
doesn’t flap in the wind. The tiny footprint makes it easy to set up in tight spots. eddiebauer.com
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV2 Expedition $500
packing. In winter, the tent’s nylon walls block the chill, and thicker poles shrug off the snow. But when the weather gets warm, vents in the roof and door keep things from getting sweaty. bigagnes.com
CREDIT HERE TKTKTKTKTKTK TKTKTKTKTKTK
E XPERT ADVICE
BATTENING DOWN THE HATCHES 1. MIND THE FLY 4. FACE DOORS AWAY FROM THE WIND 2. WATERPROOF EVERY SEAM 5. KEEP THE GROUND SHEET INSIDE 3. UPGRADE YOUR LINES
4 Kammok Sunda $399
6 REI Co-op Half Dome 2 $229
The Sunda is for those who aren’t sure they want to sleep in a hammock. It can be set up as a two-person backpacking tent, with two doors and two vestibules, but hook into the built-in ropes at the tent’s head and toe and the Sunda happily swings from two trees. A large fly keeps it covered, and a reflective lining blocks solar heat and defuses headlamp rays. kammok.com
y p make it feel positively palatial. Designers also upgraded the vestibule and added more mesh for better ventilation. But they didn’t tinker with what made it a classic in the first place: easy setup, lightweight (at 4.9 pounds), and a price that’s hard to beat. rei.com
5 Kelty Sequoia 6 $350
7 Sierra Designs Meteor 3 $300
inside headroom for a six footer to stand up straight. The single door is almost as tall and superwide, and cross poles push the walls out to near vertical, making almost the entire nine- by nine-foot floor area usable. With color coding and a simple pole design, it’s not even that hard to set up. kelty.com
The Meteor has everything we look for in a backpacking tent and more. Setup is simple, and with a 42-inch clearance, three guys can sit and play cards. There’s plenty of room in the two vestibules for packs and boots, and the fly rolls back for stargazing. More compelling: Similar tents that weigh the same (5.2 pounds) would cost at least $150 more. sierradesigns.com
Easy Riders It’s no surprise that multi-passenger utility vehicles, known as side-by-sides, are taking off. They’re safe, a cinch to handle, and great for cruising with friends—and they make getting into the backcountry, or just around your property, easier than ever. by JASON FOGELSON
to 1,000 pounds—so it ll have no problem with that Booner whitetail you re going to tag this season. It also comes with Kolpin gun cases, a winch, a full-skid plate, and a portable LED spotlight, all of which will prove useful afield, and its Rotax V-Twin 976cc, 72-horsepower engine will make for easy uphill climbs. can-am.brp.com
The most affordable SxS we tested, this entry-level model has more than enough giddyap—thanks to a four-stroke 708cc engine—to clamber over rocks and debris, and its 9.7-inch front and 10.6-inch rear suspension will make doing so comfortable. The model measures 60.6 inches wide and has a 81.3-inch wheelbase, so it’s compact enough to get deep into the woods. yamahamotorsports.com
This two-row, do-it-all workhorse has a 1,000-pound-capacity cargo bed and can tow up to a ton with its 812cc engine. It also has 10 inches of ground clearance, 26-inch tires, and 8.7 inches of suspension travel, and can seat up to six people, making it perfect for either ranch work or hauling folks around. kawasaki.com MEN’S JOURNAL
Day Drinking These new hydration packs will keep you cool this summer—no matter how hard you push yourself. by BERNE BROUDY
2/ SALOMON AGILE 6 SET
3/ THULE VITAL 8L
4/ GREGORY INERTIA 30
The Agile 6 is small and lightweight, but it still has room for everything you need. Mesh shoulder straps each hold a half-liter soft flask, and the main compartment can hold an additional 1.5 liters—as well as a change of clothes and other gear. Plus, you can access hiking poles without removing the pack. $100; salomon.com
Mountain bike packs are notorious for having too few pockets you can access without taking off the pack. Not the Vital, which is equipped with oversize side pockets. It holds a 2.5-liter reservoir with the plus of a magnetized hose sleeve that clicks to the pack strap instead of flapping around. $140; thule.com
This lightweight frameless pack is great for days when you don’t want a bulky frame but you do need space to store layers, water, even a picnic lunch. The wide waist belt and ergonomic shoulder straps make it comfortable to carry, even fully loaded. Pick your size: It comes in 20-, 25-, and 30-liter versions. $120; gregorypackscom
5/ CAMELBAK CHASE BIKE VEST Most cyclists eschew packs, instead overstuffing the pockets of their jerseys. This close-fitting, minimalist vest might change that. Mesh front pockets in the shoulder straps hold phone and snacks; the main compartment has room for tubes and clothes—and 1.5 liters of water. $100; camelbak.com
Hot New Swingers
More pop and better ball control will help you rule the court. by JAMES MARTIN
Phantom Pro 100P PRINCE
This racq et is the equi alent of a surgeon’s scalpel. Its n-beamed frame delivers a soft, cushioned feel that’s ideal for drop shots and finessed volleys. But fair warnin It heavier than the other frames on this page and has a relatively small sweet spot. princetennis.com
Srixon Revo CV 3.0 F
Pure Aero Decima French Open
Honoring Rafael Nadal’s 10th French Open win, the Decima is great for big baseline drives: A wing-shaped throat cuts down on drag, and flexing strings increase the sweet spot. babolat.us
If you’re a player who relies on strong, metronomic baseline shots to frustrate opponents and force errors, this is your racquet. Silicone injected into the frame increases stability and dampens vibrations. dunlopsports.com
Ultralight carbon and a rubber-plastic compound called Kraibon unite to eliminate vibration and deliver a damp feel on impact. The result is easy on the arm and ideal for intermediate players who like to work the full court. head.com
Carbon fiber absorbs shock, keeping it away from your arm, and provides plenty of power, delivering a superb touch that makes it easy to slice with finesse. One minor quibble: It feels a little soft on serves. wilson.com
THE WARNER BROS. LOT IN BURBANK IS ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC SPOTS IN TOWN. HUMPHREY BOGART SHOT CASABLANCA THERE, HARRISON FORD MADE THE ORIGINAL BLADE RUNNER, CLINT EASTWOOD MAINTAINS AN OFFICE IN ONE OF THE BUNGALOWS, AND FOUR DAYS A WEEK EAGER
With co-star Evangeline Lily in this summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp.
of superhero mega-franchise is an odd place to suddenly f ind him at age 49. “With my career,” Rudd says, “there’s almost been this Forrest Gump kind of quality.” He famously played a goof ball lothario in Anchorman and mined the anguish of middle age for laughs in Judd Apatow’s This Is 40. He was also on the final season of Friends (he’s the guy who married Phoebe); tangled with a creepy Michael Shannon on Broadway in the play Grace; and portrayed Jack Nicholson’s son in James L. Brooks’s How Do You Know. The first job Rudd ever had in Hollywood, he tells me, was actually right here at Warner Bros. It was the early ’90s, he says, and fresh out of a two-year acting program he’d just scored a role playing Ashley Judd’s husband on television’s Sisters. He was broke at the time, and his ancient Jeep Laredo was constantly in the shop. As a result, Rudd often relied on his roommate Beau to drive him to work. “I had to be there at, like, 6 in the morning,” Rudd says. “He was upset about it, but he did it.” He laughs, adding: “As a punishment—Beau’s morning breath was so bad—he was allowed to breathe in my face for a full minute. And I just had to take it.” This went on for weeks. And this next bit may be one of the most Paul Rudd stories of all time. Rudd finally got the Laredo back, but it broke down almost immediately on the way to work. “ There w a s no U b er then,” he says. “I tried to call a cab. They were like, ‘It’s going to be at least half an hour.’ I’m panicking. There was a little strip mall, and there was a guy coming out of a laundromat. I ran over, I said, ‘Hey man, my name is Paul. I’m on this show. My car broke down. Can you drive me to work?’” Rudd pauses. “He looked at me and—I’ll never forget this—he goes, ‘Are you serious?’
I said, ‘Yeah.’ He thought about it for a second and he goes, ‘All right, get in.’” hat response should not be surprising: Paul Rudd has the kind of face strangers want to help. His boyish charm is disarming, but it’s also a bit of a magic trick; the jokes distract from the fact that he’s so handsome he could steal your wife. He’s got a block head chiseled out of granite, with thick hair barely graying at the temples, and it rests atop a Marvel-ready chest you could rest a flask on. When I point out that he’s clearly gotten into fighting shape for Ant-Man and the Wasp, his nice-guy reflex kicks into overdrive. “I have to work out harder and eat better than anyone— just to look OK. On Avengers, I was standing next to Hemsworth and I just remember thinking, biologically we are comprised of essentially the same things. We each have kidneys; we each have lungs and a heart. And yet one can look like that and one can look like this.” Rudd’s done for the day and—after nixing the trip over to the Central Perk set—we decide to grab a bite instead at the Smoke House, an old-school joint across from the lot. The place opened in 1946 and has the receipts to prove it. Photos of Errol Flynn and James Dean hang on the wall. George Clooney named his production company after the spot. Stan Lee shot his cameo for Ant-Man behind the bar. It’s bright as hell outside, but the Smoke House is lit for a film noir: The room is all dark wood, red leather booths, and career waiters in black-and-whites. It’s barely 5 o’clock, but an early bird crowd is settling in. We slide into a corner booth, and Rudd scans the menu: “Are we gonna have an early dinner? Are we just gonna do this?” Soon he’s ordering a filet mignon (medium), green beans, and a side of sauteed onions—the words sauteed onions somehow tumbling out of his mouth like a punch line. Rudd comes by his Everyman bona fides naturally. He grew up outside Kansas City mostly, where his father, Michael, worked for the airline TWA. His parents were both
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tourists line up to watch a taping of Ellen. On a recent spring afternoon, Paul Rudd is on the lot shooting Ant-Man and the Wasp, the second installation in Marvel’s blockbuster franchise. We’re talking casually outside his trailer when a tour group drives by on one of those seriously long trams. “I think we’ve been clocked,” Rudd says, as one eagle-eyed woman scrambles to take a picture. Rudd waves at her, half-embarrassed, half-proud, then brushes off the whole thing with a self-deprecating smile. “No one’s looking at me,” he says. “It’s not like I’m Chris fucking Hemsworth or anything.” He exhales, then mutters: “Should we go find the Central Perk set from Friends?” That Everyman quality is Rudd’s greatest asset, and it’s used to perfect effect in the Ant-Man films, in which he plays a petty thief turned superhero whose trademark superpower is…the ability to shrink down to the size of an insect? OK, it’s not exactly Thor’s hammer or Iron Man’s suit. But Rudd’s awshucks charm somehow makes it cool (not to mention a global box office hit, with $519 million in returns). Rudd is the first to admit that this kind
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British expats, and Rudd’s outsider status was cemented early on; he was the Jewish kid in a Midwest town whose parents sounded like Mary Poppins, and like so many awkward kids who had moved around, he sought refuge in acting. Rudd’s earnest enthusiasm springs from a hardwired curiosity inherited from his father, a history buff who, Rudd lovingly recalls, once forced a tour bus to pull off the road in Germany’s Rhine Valley so he could give an impromptu lecture about the Battle of Remagen. Rudd relaxes into the booth, genuinely happy to be talking about someone else for a minute. “My dad wasn’t the guide,” he says. “He just knew about it.” Rudd pays a kind of tribute to his father, who died in 2008, in his other summer movie, the indie The Catcher Was a Spy, the true story of Moe Berg, a Major League Baseball player who worked as a spy for U.S. intelligence during World War II. It’s the kind of strangerthan-fiction story his father would have been obsessed with, Rudd says. The two were close. Paul recalls that during a post-college crosscountry road trip with a buddy, the pair drove 50 miles out of their way on a whim to visit a meteor-landing site in Arizona that his father had once told him about. By the time they arrived, it was dark and the park was closed. Instead, Rudd’s friend took a photo of him with his hands on the fence, comically peering in. “It was a bit of a letdown,” Rudd says, cutting into his fist-sized filet. “But I got the picture because I knew may dad would laugh at it.” As he talks, a 20-something tourist with a backpack interrupts. “I’m sorry,” the guy says, nearly shaking. “This is so rude. But can I take a picture with you?” Rudd sighs, then halfjokingly mutters: “I’ll look like a real dick in this interview if I say no.” He waves the guy into the booth—“We’ll do it surreptitiously,” he says—and I snap a picture. Then, as the fan walks away, Rudd can’t help himself. “What an asshole,” he whispers. He’s said it to make me laugh—and I laugh loudly. But he isn’t entirely joking either. “It’s about the where and when,” he grumbles.
“THE IDEA THAT SOMEONE CAN COMMUNICATE WITH ANTS...IT’S THE KIND OF THING I WOULD GRAVITATE TO GROWING UP. “
With Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, 1995 (above). As Brian Fantana in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, 2004 (right).
More than once, Rudd’s been called “the nicest guy in Hollywood,” and, it’s true, he’s easy to talk to. When he showed up on Jimmy Kimmel’s show to read a mean tweet a couple of years ago, the best the producers could c ome up w it h w a s t h i s: “Paul Rudd is the most boring vanilla dude. You know he just sits at home with his w ife hav ing a bland spaghetti dinner talking about his day.” Stephen Colbert, for his part, once called Rudd “the nicest guy on the planet” after the actor entertained Colbert’s 6-yearold daughter by repeatedly singing Britney Spears’ “Oops!...I Did It Again.” Rudd may be funny, but he insists he isn’t a comedian. “I’ve been in some funny movies, but I don’t do stand-up, my background wasn’t Second City or sketch comedy.” It’s just that he can’t resist a bit. He is famous for dropping his pants to the floor at a urinal—if he suspects a friend might walk in and see him. When his beloved Kansas City Royals clinched a spot in the 2014 World Series, Rudd told a local news camera: “Party at my mom’s! She’s out of town, I’ve got a keg, it’s gonna be sweet!” (He was horrified when a people actually showed up.) On the set of the first Ant-Man, he tried to surprise his co-star Michael Douglas by recreating Sharon Stone’s cross-legged reveal from Basic Instinct. Rudd had his junk out, hiding under his T-shirt. Unfortunately, as he went for the big reveal, his boxer shorts started riding up. Rudd tugged on the T-shirt—which, unfortunately, made it appear as though he was...well, self-pleasuring, right there in public. Douglas finally noticed, blurting out: “Are you a pervert?” “It just backf ired so badly,” Rudd says.
When Rudd explained what he was trying to do, Douglas simply stared back silently. “He didn’t give it up,” Rudd tells me. “Which is such a stealth funny move!” I ask Rudd what attracted him to Ant-Man. He says he loves the character’s weird superpower and oddball charm: “This idea that somebody gets really small and can communicate with ants.... It’s such a specific ability. It’s the kind of thing that I would gravitate to growing up.” That enthusiasm was apparent when Rudd auditioned for the part, says Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. “All we could think about before, during, and after that meeting was how great Paul would be,” Feige says. Adam McKay, who wrote and directed Anchorman—and also rewrote much of AntMan holed up with Rudd in a room at the Chateau Marmont for two months in 2014— recalls the highly unlikely experience of seeing his friend get into Marvel shape. “I’m like, ‘Paul, is the idea that you’re going to have sixpack abs?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I’m doing every day for four hours.’” Rudd complained “constantly” about the diet, McKay says with a laugh. But damn if the work didn’t pay off. Shortly before filming began, Rudd lifted his shirt for his friend: “And
he had abs! I think it was, like, four-pack with a hint of two, but it was good. I just laughed and went, ‘You’re playing a superhero. How the hell did this happen?’”
“EVERYTHING IS CIRCUITOUS. AND NOTHING HAPPENS THE WAY YOU THINK IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.“
hat’s a good question, and one I’m hoping we’ll get to as we finish our very decadent, ver y early dinner. McKay explained Rudd’s Forrest Gump-ian trajectory. “It’s really crazy to think that he was in Clueless, one of the definitive high school movies for that era. Then he pops up in Anchorman, Wet Hot American Summer, but he’s also doing hard-edged theater,” McKay said. “I think one of the downplayed things about him is how great his taste is—in music, and movies, and art. You combine all those things and people are going to be like, ‘I want to work with him.’ ” Cutting into the last bite of his afternoon steak—something he probably didn’t want but has since destroyed—Rudd ref lects on his career: “Everything is circuitous. And nothing really happens the way you think it’s going to happen.” It occurs to me that for someone who has been as famous for as long as Rudd’s been famous, we don’t know all that much about him. (Did you know he co-owns a candy store in Rhinebeck, New York, with The Walking Dead’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan?) This is by design. Rudd lives in downtown Manhattan with his wife of 15 years, Julie, and their two kids. He talks genuinely about loving his kids, as any parent would, but what’s great are the kinds of details he chooses to share. Until recently, he tells me, his son wore Elvis Costello–type suits to school. While his daughter may love Disney princesses, she was immune to the charms of Frozen. Says Rudd: “I like that my daughter was the one little girl who was like, ‘Ugh...Let It Go.’ ” If there’s something that unites the disparate f ilm roles he’s played, perhaps it’s that inherent goodness he brings, a kind of unmistakable Rudd-ian humanity. Even when he’s sparring with Seth Rogen in The 40-Year-Old Virgin (“You know how I know you’re gay? Because you macraméd yourself a pair of jean shorts.”), it comes from the heart. Leaving the restaurant, I ask a throwaway question about what he likes to watch on TV. Rudd mutters something about appreciating CBS’ Undercover Boss—specifically the way every episode has a sappy ending, where the boss awards a college scholarship to a hardworking employee’s kid or delivers a free car to the long-distance commuter. “I feel starved for moments of goodness in humanity,” Rudd says. “I just like anything that creates a moment of joy.” Because this is Paul Rudd, I’m waiting for the punch line, but it doesn’t come. “I’m not kidding,” he says. “When somebody’s really laughing, it’s just so good.” MJ
) Z( A( COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE BEST SEASON .
AIRSTREAM Why, after nearly 90 years, the silver bullet remains the ultimate summer ride.
with its Art Deco design and proven reliability. Some eight decades later, it’s synonymous with summer vacations, and so deeply wedged in the nation’s psyche that you needn’t have either owned or traveled in one to feel nostalgic for it. The Airstream has inspired poems and songs, and appeared in movies such as Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Raising Arizona, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape; the Apollo 11 crew stayed in one upon returning from the moon. It embodies old American ideals of exploration and kinship; it’s essentially a covered wagon made of nearindestructible aluminum, big enough for the whole family and the dog. The Airstream has come a long way since the days of Wally Byam; the Nest, a stylish fiberglass 16-footer, debuted in April. Nonetheless, to strike out with one in tow remains a rite of summer and a symbol of our most precious freedoms: to explore and to roam. —J.R. Sullivan
a summertime brew? —J.R.S.
Rent an Airstream
R to m summer. I can load it with a 50-quart cooler packed with beer and steaks, a burden no kayak will swallow; paddle with a buddy or 068
Paddling a canoe requires practice, to be sure. But it’ll teach you how to move with balance in an unbalanced world. —T. Edward Nickens
ING IMAGES/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; AIRSTREAM
T a h is th th
THE ONLY CAMP COOKWARE YOU NEED.
EASY CAST-IRON COBBLER
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GET IN LINE
BRING THE NOISE
A FOOLPROOF GUIDE TO
4. Cage Match Root your plants in two rows of four, with a couple of feet of space around each. Cage and thread a soaker hose between them. In 75 days or so, they’ll be BLT-ready. —M.R.S.
Now’s the time to try your hand at cultivating your own food. Get your grow on with this simple raised tomato bed.
3. Ground Work Cover the earth with a layer of cardboard and staple galvanized hardware cloth to the box to keep critters out. Then fill the bed with soil—a third vermiculite, a third peat moss, a third yard-waste compost. When ready to plant, don’t bother starting with seeds. Instead, buy young tomato plants from a local nursery, either heirloom Brandywine, black beauty, or Paul Robeson varieties.
1. Spot On Find a level, dry spot where the tomatoes will get at least 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Clear a 4- by 8-foot patch of ground until it’s bare dirt. This’ll be enough space to grow eight plants.
2. Box Out.. For a 4- by 8-foot box, buy nine 2x6s and two 2x2s, all 8 feet long and untreated. Cut the 2x2s into six 18-inch lengths for the vertical posts. Then cut three 2x6s into 4-foot lengths for the horizontal end pieces; the six remaining 2x6s will form the box’s 8-foot sides. Using four 18-inch 2x2s as corner posts, stack and screw the 2x6s to form the box. Halfway down the 8-foot sides, secure the two additional 18-inch 2x2s for support. You can also use 8-foot 1x4s for trim, as seen here. Or you can just go buy a raised bed at the hardware store for $100.
Ice Cream THREE TIPS FOR CHURNING A BETTER HOMEMADE SCOOP.
By Max Falkowitz FROM LEFT: SICKLES PHOTO REPORTING/GETTY IMAGES; JENS MORTENSEN/GALLERY STOCK
Though a trip to the ice-cream stand is a s nothing beats making your own—a surpris endeavor with a $60 churn-style machine. improve the product. EMBRACE EGGS The easiest way to elevate homemade ice cream is by cooking a custa on the stove. Recipes abound online, but in to whisk together egg yolks and sugar, the cream and whole milk, and gently stir until reaches 170 degrees. Use an instant-read to eliminate guesswork and avoid a pot of SMOOTH SAILING For an extra-smooth tex substitute as much as ¼ cup of the sugar i with corn syrup or glucose syrup. This is es for fruit ice creams, which freeze hard and your cream-to-milk ratio will improve smo CHILL OUT Once done cooking your base, re or chill it in an ice bath until it hits 40 degre churn faster and creamier and will also res crystals than ones at room temperature.
Illustration by TODD DETWILER
JAWS WHY SPIELBERG’S MASTERPIECE IS MORE THAN CHEAP THRILLS.
My mom scared the shit out of me more than the shark did. In the summer of 1975, I was too young to see Jaws in theaters, but her story about spending half the movie hiding in the lobby kept me away long after most of my friends had already seen it on VHS. By the time I finally got around to watching it, two things were clear: Mom’s a bit of a wuss, and this film is far more than just a scary story about a big shark. The first-ever summer blockbuster—a potent combo of hype and mass-appeal genre filmmaking—it’s a heart-pounding thriller with great performances and a few genuinely hilarious lines, like Roy Scheider’s improvised quip, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” Plus, it holds up. Sure, the mechanical shark isn’t as realistic as, say, CGI dinosaurs. Even so, after seeing Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, you can’t go to a beach without momentarily scanning the horizon for a dorsal fin. —Greg Emmanuel
KNOTS Fly- fishing :
BEWARE THE BOLT. W FROM LEFT: SUNSET BOULEVARD/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES; JAMES BOONE
on th yo gu ni th be In m ki a U 10 st Because for all of mankind s medical achievements, there’s still little that can be done should you find yourself on the receiving end of a bolt. —J.R.S.
ON THE TRAIL
IN OPEN COUNTRY
y y touching the ground. Cover your ears, and don’t lie flat.
MUSIC T I VA L S
OUTDOOR CONCERTS RULEâ€”EVEN MORE SO WHEN YOU SHOW UP WITH THE RIGHT GEAR.
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: FORREST SMITH; TREKANDSHOOT/GETTY IMAGES; KATHERINE WOLKOFF/TRUNKARCHIVE
OFF THE GRID
than in. Even so, it’s easy to spend too much of your break staring at a screen. This year, come prepared with QualityTime,
To go a step further, ditch t he phone altog e t h e r, b u y a S P O T emergency messenger device, and venture into
well that you might be the only soul within miles. If someone needs to reach you, they’ll have the rest of the year to do so. —J.R.S.
ALL HAIL THE
uah IF THERE’S A QUINTESSENTIAL clam, it’s the quahog—a shellfish family that includes littlenecks, count necks, top necks, and cherrystones. Here’s how Christine Burns Rudalevige, a food writer and communications manager at the Coastal Culinary Academy, suggests steaming the summertime staple. (1.) Get a bag at the fishmonger, about 2 pounds per person. You want clams that are tightly sealed, or slightly ajar but close when tapped on the counter. Toss any that don’t. (2.) Soak them in cold water for 20 minutes so that they can take in clean water and expel sand. Then give them a rinse. Steam the clams in a big pot of water until the shells open, 5–7 minutes. (3.) Serve the clams with drawn butter, along with the hot water in which you steamed them. Take a clam, dip the meat in the briny hot water to remove any remaining sand particles, dunk in the butter, and enjoy. —Marjorie Korn
ROPE SWING the f human sensations, few rank higher than swinging from a rope and ngin ool river on a sweltering summer day. Here’s how set up your own: 1. UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE AN IDIOT. You. Are. An. Idiot. Not only that, you realize the dangers of this enterprise and the dangers you’re getting others into. Cool? 2. FIND A TREE. Oaks are the classic; pick one with a thick horizontal branch, at least 8 inches in diameter, that extends a dozen feet or farther over deep water. The spot should be 8 to 10 feet deep minimum, and deeper if your launchpad and release point are especially high. 3. CLEAR THE AREA OF SUBMERGED OBSTACLES. As you do, double-check the area. If you find a sunken boulder, find a new spot. 4. DRILL A BOLT into the limb to avoid killing it. Or, in lieu of that, use a noose-like double running bowline knot (Google it) to attach your rope to the tree. Use nylon rope, since it won’t decay in the sunlight. 5. TIE A FEW DOUBLE OVERHAND KNOTS to use as hand grips. Then—after you double-check the strength of your rope and feel confident that it’s secure—let it rip. To maximize the distance of your jump, don’t release until the rope reaches the end of its upward trajectory. 6. EMERGE FROM THE WATER. Holler. Repeat. —J.W.
Switc el HOW TO MIX THE ULTIMATE WARM-WEATHER COCKTAIL.
A spicy-cool bev age t hat dates t he 17t h- cent u C a r ibb e a n , t he s w it c h has recently caught on w mo der n- d ay b a r t ende who’ve revived the tradit of spiking the cider-vine concoction with rum—cre ing a refreshing alternative most sweet summer cockta This recipe comes court of Austin Hartman, owne New York’s Paradise Loun —Brian Ba
Add ¾ oz of lime juice, 1½ o switchel base, and 1½ oz s water to a Collins glass fill with ice. Next, float 2 oz of dark ru (Coruba, Gosling’s, etc.) in the glass. Garnish with a lime wedg rosemary sprigs.
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Mix two parts apple cider vinegar, two parts fresh ginger juice, and one part maple syrup in a jar.
UR BEA Venice Beach
et opo ta a ea, c ty beac es a o d a easy ay to ta e so e ays a d peop e with quick access to restaurants and bars. Here are four we love:
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THE WINVIAN FARM TREEHOUSE
Jacob Riis Park
Queens, New York
Opened in 1932, Riis Park—nicknamed “the people’s beach” for its access via public transportation from Manhattan—occupies 260 acres on the outskirts of Queens. Perhaps best known for its towering Art Deco bathhouse, it enjoys relative tranquility compared with the madness of Coney Island and Rockaway Beach. Nonetheless, being in New York City, Riis can get crowded during peak season, so err on the early side to secure prime towel space.
Sixteen miles from downtown Los Angeles, Venice Beach long ago earned a reputation as a haven for artists and eccentrics who congregate on its mile-anda-half promenade. But it’s also home to famous pickupbasketball courts, one of the world’s finest skateboard parks, the original Gold’s Gym, and no shortage of beachside drink spots, including the Lincoln, Hinano Café, and Venice Ale House. Allow yourself time to stroll the Venice Canals.
Located on Chicago’s famed North Shore, this Lake Michigan escape is one of the most well-maintained shorelines in the region. You should have no problem staying occupied with the paddleboards, kayaks, and sailboats available for rent; volleyball courts; and a “sprayground” for kids. Or you can keep things low-key and stroll the historic trellis and walkways instead. The $10 adult entrance fee helps keep the crowds low and the facilities extra-clean.
Established in 1895 as the U.S.’s first public beach, this three-mile sandy crescent sits five miles north of Boston and is easily accessible by subway. Revere, like many Boston beaches, gained an unsavory reputation in the 1960s, but it’s now one of the cleanest in the area, with free parking, public restrooms, and ample food choices to boot. Come for the white sand, stay for Kelly’s transcendent roast beef sandwiches or Twist & Shake’s killer soft-serve cones.
VANS TREEHOUSE COTTAGES
WHOLE HOG A g and a ha are store are all you need to summon your inner pitmaster this summer. First, buy the pig from a country butcher; request a whole one, butterflied, with the hair removed. The head is optional but adds authentic flair. Ensure it’s legal to build a monster-truck-size fire in your backyard, then commence to pigging out.
1. Prepare the Pit Stack about 30 cinder blocks to form a rectangular pit two blocks tall. At the ready have a grate of nongalvanized, expanded metal. You’ll want to support it with three lengths of rebar across the width.
2. Ignite the Fire In the pit, burn a large hardwood fire down to coals. Rake about 4 inches of coals on each end of the pit, where the hams and shoulders will be. You won’t need much direct heat in the middle. Next, build a second fire nearby so that you can easily replenish the coals. Then rest the grate on the blocks and set the pig on it, right side up. Stack a third layer of cinder blocks and set a piece of metal sheeting or foil over it, above the pig. Keep a bucket of water handy for wetting down flare-ups.
3. Babysit the Pig
MAX TAYLOR/GETTY IMAGES
Plan on 6 to 8 hours of slow cooking. Maintain a temp of about 225 degrees. Shovel in extra coals as needed by removing an end cinder block, and regulate the heat by using blocks to dampen the resulting opening. Baste liberally with a vinegar-based sauce. When the pig is about halfway cooked, enlist a couple of pals to help flip it with clean shovels; use oven mitts to grab the legs. Feast on the ribs once you flip the pig; the rest of the hog is ready when the hams hit 180 degrees. —T.E.N.
WHY SKILL IS BESIDE THE POINT.
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CO I sy a b
1. RESIST NOSTALGIA Your Zebco might’ve been a Snoopy or Mickey Mouse model. But let your youngsters pick their own—there’s been one for damn near every kids’ movie. This will help fishing feel like their hobby, not just yours.
t 2. EMBRACE LIVE BAIT You may have moved on to finesse worms or dry flies, but live bait puts fish on hooks. And the fast action will keep your kids interested. 3. WELCOME DISTRACTIONS Remember, you aren’t fishing. Your kids are. And they won’t care about it until there’s a fish on the line. In the meantime, let them play with the bait bucket or look for crayfish along the bank. And bring plenty of snacks—a surefire way to pass the time. 4 . PICK THE PERFECT TARGET Pint-size panfish, found in most creeks and ponds, are great for young kids, since they’re suckers for crickets and wax worms. Older kids will like the big tugs of bass and catfish, which favor live worms. 5. REEL DEAL Casting a baited hook with a short rod can be dicey, and even dangerous, for little ones, so you may need to do it for them. But have them reel in every fish. Let your kids hold their catch in the water, and teach them the importance of keeping the fish wet for a good, safe release. —Josh Parks
BY STAYTON BONNER PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOE PUGLIESE
SHOT STABBED FOUGHT IN MOB-RUN
MATCHES HE’S ARRESTED & KILLED SOME OF AMERICA’S WORST CRIMINALS AS AN
AND NOW HE’S FINALLY
COMING CLEAN THE
AMID THE TOPLESS JOINTS AND SAGGING
taverns of the San Fernando Valley, behind a stucco strip mall with a nail salon and liquor mart, is a bare-bones gym that’s home to the toughest trainer in boxing. And today he’s tussling with one of his most ornery opponents yet—a 5-year-old kid who won’t stop crying. “Son, look at me,” John Arthur says, leaning forward, his eyes level with the child. “This ain’t no nursery.” Arthur, 68, runs the Legends Gym, a spartan warehouse filled with punching bags, weights, and a full-size boxing ring. The joint is a sort of boulevard of broken-bodied dreams, with a crew of onetime greats now making rent by showing kids how to throw a right hook. On this muggy afternoon in December, its trainers include Frankie Liles, a former super-middleweight boxing great; Dan Magnus, a U.S. marshal turned pro kickboxing champ; and, most famously, Billy Blanks, the karate expert who created the Tae Bo workout regime in the ’90s, making $80 million in the process and then retreat-
While working undercover in the 1970s, Arthur courted danger—and a larger-than-life image.
Above left: Arthur, at right, with a bullet around his neck that was pulled from his body. Above: As a young man, he trained constantly for underground fights.
with Toney himself, sparring daily with the 5'9", 220-pound behemoth until he brought him back to form. “He’s Superman,” Toney says of Arthur. “I was young and wild and crazy, and he stayed on top of me. He’s different. I mean, he’s shot and killed people. I seen his gunshot wounds—you won’t see that with no other manager.” Which is why it’s so jarring to witness Arthur squared off with Zaven, the young boy who arrives bawling at Legends because he doesn’t want to attend his karate lesson. “I don’t want to go,” Zaven says, snot running down his nose. Seated just a few feet away, the boy’s father, Civen Jones, tries to comfort him, but Arthur shakes his head, stopping Jones cold. “Don’t look at your daddy,” Arthur commands the child. “When you talk to a man, you look him in the eye. Now talk to me, son.” Zaven looks at Arthur and begins to open up. Soon he calms down, and his father laughs. Jones is studying to be a heating and air-conditioning repairman, but, like most everyone passing through Legends, he’s been training with Arthur for years, turning to the gym to flee the streets. “He got me right,” says Jones. “He’s always been the star that guides me.” Among fighters, Arthur’s name isn’t John, it’s “Pops,” and, at nearly 70 years old, this is Pops’ first real gym. For years, Arthur groomed champions for star promoters like Don King, but Legends is his attempt, at long last, to start his own enterprise, a gym and boxing management company in the Valley. And today he has a full slate. In addition to working in the ring with a 6'1", 200-pound Ukrainian cruiserweight, he runs the front office, greeting an endless parade of visitors, from bulging trainers to traveling workout salesmen to two middle-aged women hoping to establish an after-school program in the gym.
COURTESY OF JOHN ARTHUR (4)
ing into obscurity in Japan. Like most trainers at Legends, Blanks has known Arthur for decades and trusts him completely. Blanks signed on just weeks after the gym opened in April 2017. Of all the faded legends at Legends, though, no one has a larger reputation than Arthur. It’s an incredible feat, considering he never competed as a pro boxer or kickboxer. His bona fides come solely from his years in the illegal bare-knuckle arena and working in law enforcement. “Most managers don’t know how to fight, but have you seen John’s scars? I’ve seen him do stuff no one else knows how to do,” Blanks says. “I mean, he’s fought to the death in overseas matches.” Magnus puts it another way. “If John and I were facing off, I think I would just shoot him,” he says. “And hope I don’t miss.” Brown-eyed with a trim mustache and black tracksuit, Arthur has become a legend in the boxing world for training the hotheads no one else can handle and transforming them into champions. In the ’80s, he coached Michael Nunn, a volatile middleweight, taking him from drug dens to Caesars Palace. “A street guy,” Arthur recalls. “I had to break into the damn ghetto just to get him so we could go work out.” In the ’90s, Arthur took on Lakva Sim, an unruly featherweight from Mongolia, leading the 5'7" puncher to a world title. “Ornery little bastard who loved to drink and cuss out promoters,” he says. Most famously, Arthur revived the career of James Toney, a world-champion he av y weight w ho onc e threatened to pull a gun on his own manager, scaring off everyone in the business—until Arthur donned gloves and entered the ring
At one point, a young boxer Arthur hardly knows calls him about a problem involving a match in Mexico. Arthur promises to help him and then sighs, putting the phone on mute as the kid, fresh out of prison, begins to prattle on about injustice. “I’m going to let him drain himself,” Arthur says, scrolling through his emails, his voice the same register of seen-it-all calmness no matter what chaos he encounters. And that’s because he has seen it all—from fighting in mob-run death matches to working undercover for the FBI robbing drug houses. It’s one of the reasons, to this day, that he’s so well-respected among fighters. When I f irst met Arthur, it was in the bowels of an arena outside Memphis in April 2012. I was working on a story about another fighter, and he’d come into the training room to watch a boxer get his hands wrapped for the fight. As he entered, the entire room hushed, and the grizzled men gathered around him like starstruck teens at a Bieber concert. “Can you tell us the stories, Pops?” one heavyweight asked. “We want to hear about the death matches.” Over the years, Arthur’s name would continue to pop up at boxing matches and gyms from the Deep South to the Bronx. Finally, at a match in Philly, I asked former heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster about him. Brewster just laughed and said I needed to hear it from the man himself. “Here’s his number,” he said. “No one’s got a story like Pops.” When I cold-called Arthur, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I encountered the last thing I had anticipated: relief. “Funny you should call,” he said, sighing. “For the longest time, I didn’t want to talk about this stuff. But now I’m nearing 70 and want to leave something for my grandkids. Where should I begin?” Over the next two years, in face-to-face interviews and endless phone calls, Arthur began to spin an incredible tale—so implausible, in fact, that I soon began reaching out to well over a dozen former fighters, co-workers, and family members to confirm his stories, every one of them only enriching his saga. “I should’ve been dead many times,” Arthur says, heading back to the ring in his gym. “Being where I’m from, I’ve had to have balls of steel.”
station, where the family ended up, a man approached Arthur’s father, Abraham, and offered him a job. “He was this short man with an accent who worked at an Italian steakhouse,” Arthur says, “and suddenly Dad became a dishwasher.” After a few years living in the basement of a building on the South Side of Chicago, the Arthur family moved into the new Robert Taylor Homes, which at that time was the largest public housing project in the world, a no-man’s-land of poverty and violence and a monument to segregation. One of the youngest children in the family, Arthur was known for being quiet, serious, and a favorite of his churchgoing parents—but also ruthless if backed into a corner. “John’s got a level head, but you can’t push the wrong button,” says his older brother, William. “He don’t take no mess.” For Arthur, violence was a constant fact of life. At 8, he sold newspapers for 25 cents a week, and often saw circulation bosses beat up thieves who had robbed their paperboys. At 11, he was taken to street corners, where his gang-running brothers pitted him against neighborhood kids in street fights. “I’d fight in back alleys, yards, anywhere,” he says. “I didn’t know what I was doing—I was just fighting for my life.” In the mid-’60s, with her eldest son already in and out of jail, Arthur’s mother, Katherine, decided to save young Arthur by send-
ing him to work every day after school with his father, now a chef at Gus’s, a high-end Italian restaurant in the city. One night when Arthur was 13, he was staying late to help his father clean up when they realized the buses had stopped running. A host at the restaurant known as “the Greek”—the same man who initially approached Abraham in the bus station—offered to drop them off at the all-night L train. After bidding the Greek good night, Arthur and his father were walking to the train platform when a man approached, putting a knife to Arthur’s throat and demanding money. Frozen with fear, Arthur looked to his father, who stood trembling as well. Arthur then heard a voice from the darkness—the Greek. “He came out of nowhere holding a wad of money you could choke a horse with,” Arthur recalls. “He said, ‘That old fucker don’t have no money. Here, take mine.’” Holding out the cash, the Greek approached the assailant, then quickly grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him toward him. “All of a sudden, the Greek was on the ground, stabbing the guy in the throat,” Arthur says. “The man’s blood was coming out bright and turning dark. Then the train came, the Greek saying, ‘Get out of here. You and your boy didn’t see this.’” The nex t evening at t he restaurant, ashamed of his father’s fear and awed by the Greek, Arthur began begging him to teach him how to fight so he could protect his family. “He just grabbed me by the collar and
HE’S DIFFERENT. I MEAN, HE’S SHOT AND KILLED PEOPLE. I SEEN HIS GUNSHOT WOUNDS—YOU WON’T SEE THAT WITH NO OTHER MANAGER.”
THE GREEK Born one of 14 children to farming parents in Starkville, Mississippi, in 1950, Arthur f led with his family in the middle of the night to avoid a lynching after his father shot a bullying white storekeeper. “My father had been accused of stealing chickens,” Arthur recalls. “He got in a tussle and thought he’d killed the man, so we boarded a Greyhound that night.” After a couple of days in a Chicago bus
Arthur has worked with some of the biggest hotheads in boxing, including James Toney, here in a match in 2006.
shoved me inside a freezer,” says Arthur. “ ‘Kid, you didn’t see that. Next time, it might be you.’ ” Undeterred, Arthur continued to pester the Greek, finally wearing him down. “I said, ‘I want to be able to protect myself,’ so he started teaching me martial arts.” Squat and black-haired, the Greek, nicknamed after his home country, was a sharp dresser and good tipper to his busboys, a man of few words but merciless precision. “The Greek was short but had a good physique,” recalls George Williams, a cousin of Arthur’s who worked at the steakhouse. “He dressed like something out of a fashion magazine but carried himself like a man’s man—and John always worked for him.” Between shifts, in a side room at the restaurant, the Greek put Arthur through endless drills, punching, kicking, and training with knives. He taught Arthur how to use his weight against opponents by practicing strikes and roundhouse kicks on hanging hog carcasses sent to the restaurant for butchering. During the day, Arthur continued to attend school, excelling at sports like football and wrestling. While working at the restaurant at night, he often slept there on a cot, his martialarts training known only to his father. “Years later, he told me about the Greek, how he taught him to fight,” recalls his brother William, now an assistant preacher in Atlanta. “I heard about those problems on the L train.” For Arthur, the Greek became a new father figure. “The Greek became my mentor,” he says. “He had me hit brick walls until my fists were as hard as damn lead pipes.” One Friday afternoon, after three years of training, Arthur, now 16, was taken to the airport by the Greek and flown to Athens. In Greece, in a rural village on a small island, Arthur watched his mentor fight a bulging 170-pound opponent in a bare-knuckle match for prize money, one of 17 bouts held that day. “The Greek did a leg takedown and then put the man in a forearm wristlock,” Arthur recalls, “popping his arm over his knee until the whole elbow broke, his forearm hanging at a weird angle.” His opponent maimed, the Greek took his prize money and then brought Arthur back to the airport, asking him his thoughts on what he’d just witnessed. “That was the first time I seen him fight,” Arthur recalls. “I just said, ‘Man, I want to do that.’” The Greek made Arthur a deal. If he would fight for him, the Greek would put him on a payroll and move his family into a house of their own. Then he explained the truth behind the Italian steakhouse—it was a business front for the mob. “They were mobsters,” Arthur says. “The Greek was a hit man, but he was going to protect my family and help us get out of the projects.” UNDERGROUND FIGHTER Now fighting for his family, Arthur began his final, most brutal phase of training. Practicing on hog carcasses, he learned how to kill a man, and how to survive the merciless world of underground matches. “In sudden-death
fights, you could kick against the joints, in the groin, sweep somebody, throw them down, stomp them in the back, stomp them on the neck, take two fingers to the eyes,” Arthur says. “I had a mob dentist file my canine teeth to razor points. The Greek even taught me how to fishhook a man, grabbing him by the thin part of his mouth while running your outer finger through his eardrum and busting it, making him lose his equilibrium.” When Arthur was ready to compete in the death matches, the Greek would arrange it by simply telling Arthur to meet him at O’Hare Airport. On the long f lights, Arthur would sleep, occasionally opening his eyes to glimpse ocean or mountains or unknown cities, never having any clue what to expect upon landing. “The Greek spoke seven languages,” he says. “He handled everything for me.” The bouts’ rules were simple. Competitors would fight until a man dropped. If the loser stayed down, he would then be covered by a fishnet, meaning the fight was over. But if he stood again for a final round, then it was a fight to the death. “If you went down, you better just lie there until you feel people picking you up,” Arthur recalls. “Because if you tried to stand, chances were you’d get stomped right in the back of the neck, leaving you paralyzed.” For his first fight, Arthur took on a blond,
muscle-bound opponent in a small boxing club somewhere in Europe, arriving to find himself the only black man in the room. “It was strange being over there as a man of color,” he recalls. “They were more scared of me than anything, and I was nervous as cat shit.” During that f irst f ight, after an initial back-and-forth, Arthur knocked his opponent to the ground and jumped atop him, choking him until a net covered them both. Breathing heavily, Arthur was shocked by the reservoir of anger he had tapped to nearly kill his opponent. “I had won, but I felt strange,” Arthur recalls, “a nervous energy like I had done something wrong. But the Greek explained that if the other guy didn’t want it to happen then he never would have entered that ring. He told me to leave it all behind, to never look back. After that, I loved the feeling of fighting.” For the next couple of years, while attending high school and working at the restaurant, Arthur would be periodically summoned to the airport, flying with the Greek to bouts across the world, competing everywhere from warehouses to bullrings to bars. “I fought in Africa, Italy, Russia, Japan, Thailand,” Arthur recalls. “The fighting was taking my family out of the projects—it was a way out of poverty.” In the underworld, Arthur gained a reputation by shocking opponents with his skin color
THE BARE-KNUCKLE FIGHTING NEVER BOTHERED ME. BUT THE FIRST TIME I SHOT A GUY— THAT STILL HAUNTS ME.”
and then crushing them with his skill. He even developed a signature outfit: red karate pants, black driving gloves, and a red Lone Ranger mask he would take off after entering the ring. “It was a gimmick,” Arthur says, “something that made me more different than I already was, to scare them.” After two years of alternating fight-
looking at the horses,” he says. “Cooking and horses are the only two things that relax me.” When I visited him in December, he was laboring over baked chicken, a pot of collard greens, and mac and cheese—lunch for his third wife, Shirlyn, an aspiring actress over a decade his junior. “I don’t know where I’d be without her,” Arthur says. “She’s my angel.” Like Arthur, Shirlyn is originally from the
Above: Arthur still trains fighters six days a week, including boxer Ming Freeman. Opposite: Legends instructor Chico Jones working out with Arthur.
ON THE BEAT
South—a small town in the coastal plains of North Carolina—and loves it when he cooks his old family recipes. Yet Arthur’s cooking is not so much a legacy of his birth in Mississippi, but of his second stint in Dixie, when he worked undercover as an agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. How he ended up there is another saga in its own. After leaving Chicago for Atlanta in 1968, Arthur became a standout offensive guard on
rounding counties were even investigated by Congress for their Klan activity. Everyone from local mechanics to public-office holders were found to be members, some carrying weapons as powerful as Thompson submachine guns. Arthur, hailing from the North, had never seen anything like it. “There was so much damn racism,” he says. “Communities around there would have signs that said, ‘Nigger don’t let the sun set on your black ass.’” Early one morning in 1972, Arthur was jogging in the white part of Griffin when a patrol car pulled up behind him, flashing its lights. Arthur told the two white policemen he was
out for a run, but they didn’t believe him, so they cuffed him and threw him in the back of the car. After running a background check, which came back clean, they drove Arthur to his apartment. When they walked him inside, they found a room full of football trophies. “One of the old boys loved the game,” Arthur says. “He turned to me and asked, ‘Want a job?’” For the next two years, Arthur, then 22, worked as a policeman for Griff in, one of only five African-American officers for the 22,000-person community. From the beginning, he was given the unofficial rules: He was not allowed to arrest whites or enter certain establishments in the white part of town. “It was a culture shock to me,” he says. “I was in college and all of a sudden I couldn’t go to a neighborhood because I’m black? Shit, that wasn’t my world.” Arthur soon made enemies. On traff ic duty, he pulled over the police commissioner’s brother for drunk driving. The man put on a Klan hood and challenged his authority. Arthur slapped the hood off the man and threw him in jail. Having broken the Griffin PD’s unwritten rules, Arthur was then given the ultimate punishment—the graveyard shift. Paired with a sullen older white partner who refused to talk with him or even shake his hand, Arthur roamed the city streets from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., arresting drunks while sleeping through his mornings, barely seeing Jeraldine and Jonvette, their newborn baby daughter. Isolated and lonely, Arthur began raising Tennessee walking horses on a small farm outside of town, riding for hours through the hills. The horses were the only thing that helped calm him. Still full of anger, however, he began competing in weekend kickboxing tournaments and soon came across the last person he had expected to see—the Greek. “The Greek had heard I was fighting and came down for it,” says Arthur. “Afterwards, he asked, ‘You want to make some real money?’ So I started going back to the death matches every now and again, flying overseas to make $5,000 in a weekend.” But back home in Griffin, Arthur’s situation with the police force was becoming increasingly dire. He was unable to trust his fellow officers, so when a local drug dealer threatened his family, Arthur called up Harry Reid, a childhood friend who had once been the leader of the Black Rebels street gang in Chicago. Reid, 6'0" and 230 pounds, with an Afro and gold earrings in both ears, arrived the next morning. “That little redneck town wasn’t too far from slavery,” Reid recalls. “Some old guy told me to cross the street or he’d horsewhip me. I told him to go to hell— I’m from Chicago.” Nabbing the dealer, Arthur, Reid, and another gang member took the guy to a secluded country road. “John told him, ‘This is my friend from Chicago,’ and that boy got freaked out, looked at me like I was Al Capone,” Reid says. “We did
some things we probably shouldn’t talk about.” Arthur is more direct about the outcome: “They beat the shit out of him.” Finally, after enduring eight months of silence on the graveyard shift, Arthur arrested some black teens in a Waff le House and his partner, John, who apparently approved, suddenly opened up. A Korean War vet with a flattop haircut and trim mustache, John was a crack shot who began teaching Arthur how to shoot by taking him spotlighting, where he’d hold a bright light with one hand and a .357 Magnum with the other, blasting white-tailed deer from the open window of their patrol car. “Shoot upside down, shoot sideways, everything,” says Arthur. “Those ol’ boys love shooting deer in the South.” For months, Arthur and John forged an unusual friendship until one night when the older vet said he had a secret to share and invited him back to his house, where he pulled out the last thing Arthur would have ever expected—a Klan robe. “John was in the damn KKK,” Arthur says. “I said, ‘Whoa, shit.’ He took that robe and two Klan cones outside and burned them in a 50-gallon drum. Then he turned to me and said, ‘You’re the first black man ever set foot on my property, and you’re gonna be the first black man to ever walk off of it.’” Stunned, Arthur rode in silence all the way back to the station. “Come to find out they’d put us together as punishment—me for arresting the commissioner’s brother and
remained with the department for an awkward few months—until he got a call from the FBI. While in college, Arthur had applied to the bureau when they visited campus, thinking little of it. Now, with his name in the headlines, they had come calling. “Word had gotten out I was a good cop,” he says. “The bureau was looking for minorities, and I wanted to get the hell out of Griffin.” UNDERCOVER IN THE UNDERWORLD “You got to remember you’re his daddy,” Arthur says, driving down L.A.’s De Soto Avenue in his battered Buick sedan on a late afternoon in December. He’s talking to a young fighter on speakerphone. “You got to discipline him and then walk away.” “OK, Pops.” “OK, baby.” Arthur hangs up, rubs his eyes, and makes a hard right toward his gym. The fighter on the phone was Razvan Cojanu, a 31-year-old heavyweight from Romania brought to the U.S. by a different promoter and then summarily dumped. Cojanu was living with his wife and young children in their car until Arthur picked him up, seeing talent. Cojanu had a temper, but Arthur stuck with him, eventually working him up to a fight with champion Joseph Parker for the WBO world heavyweight title last year. Cojanu lost, but he is still at Legends. “He got in the lights and just stopped listening to me,” Arthur says of the defeat, shaking
MY DADDY ALWAYS TOLD ME: ‘BETTER TO GET TRIED BY 12 THAN BURIED BY ONE.’” him for beating up on blacks.” Although he was promoted to Griffin’s narcotics division in February 1974, busting dealers in plainclothes undercover stings, Arthur still refused to toe the good ol’ boys line. Two months later, he was suddenly suspended, the commissioner claiming he had stolen a 10-speed bicycle from the impound lot. According to Arthur, however, he had been framed. “That was the biggest bullshit in the world,” Arthur says. “I had busted the mayor’s son with 875 hits of THC and they wanted me to drop the case. When I told them, ‘No, I don’t do this for anybody,’ they put me on the blacklist and fired me.” Incensed, Arthur turned around and sued the police department, the commissioner, and the entire town of Griffin in U.S. District Court—making headlines as one of the first African-Americans to file suit against an entire community for racism. After the case made the state news, Arthur says his bosses pulled him over one night and attempted to plant marijuana in his car, then claimed he was high. “I said, ‘Man, get the fuck out of here,’ ” Arthur says. “ ‘I don’t smoke no weed.’ ” The case was dismissed, and Arthur
his head. “You’ve got to develop fighters emotionally, spiritually, physically—and I think he’s got another world championship run in him.” He pauses, the engine idling. “There are endless people in the fight game who will con you,” he says. “You’ve just got to have that sixth sense to tell the good ones from the bad. It’s the same thing as when I used to arrest guys for the bureau—I could just tell if they were going to pull a gun.” After his stint in Griffin, Arthur arrived in Atlanta in 1973 to begin working as a special agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, one of 36 state detective bureaus in the U.S., a local version of the FBI. Just as in Griffin, Arthur soon learned he had entered another entrenched good ol’ boys club. “Back then, everyone was requesting black agents as part of integration, but there weren’t very many of us,” says Carl Neely, a former GBI agent who worked the Olympic park bombing in Atlanta and drug cases with the DEA. One of only six African-American agents on an 800-person force, Arthur was an outsider, selected for his unusual background as a tough cop from the streets who could infiltrate continued on page 110
LOSING WEIGHT WITHOUT LOSING MUSCLE IS AS EASY AS 1-2-3 Go from flab to fit and say “good-bye” to the dad bod with the SlimFast® Plan. If you’re like most men, your work, meetings, emails, and family commitments leave little time to hit the gym and eat right. Fortunately, there is an easy answer... the SlimFast Plan. Picture this, you grab a protein-packed ready-to-drink chocolate shake or meal bar on the way out the door. You enjoy nutritious cookies, BBQ chips and other amazing snacks throughout the day. Finally, you come home from a long day to a delicious steak dinner. Simple as that. For over 40 years, SlimFast has helped millions of men lose weight and keep it of† with its easy to follow plan that will fit into your busy life.
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WORKOUT OF THE MONTH
Heavy Bands Circuit Old-timers will tell you that building big muscles requires moving massive amounts of weight. But a simple rubber loop can get you the gains—with less risk of injury. by LAURA WILLIAMS
were once the low-impact tool relegated to the warmup area and physical therapists’ offices. Now they’re finding their place in performance gyms as a piece of equipment for developing strength. Bands have a few advantages over weights. First, they’re easier on your joints, says Alex Guerrero, body coach for Tom Brady and co-founder of TB12. Here’s why: When you pick up a weight, gravity is always pulling it down. That constant pressure, always in one direction, takes its toll on your joints—which eventually can lead to injury. Bands don’t use gravity to provide resistance. Instead, they create it in whatever direction they’re stretched—above, below, or sideways. As a result, they spread out the pressure on joints, while also activating muscles in different directions and increasing your range of motion, all of which helps you achieve new levels of strength. R E S I S TA N C E BA N D S
Lunge With Single-Arm Forward Press
THE EQUIPMENT Most gyms have a set of bands. Grab three: light, medium, and heavy. For each move, choose the one that lets you get through the reps, but not easily. Certain moves require something to attach the band to; a lifting rig or a wall-mounted ladder work well.
Squat With Shoulder Press
Stand on the center of a band. Grasp the top of the loop in both hands so your fists are positioned over shoulders. Drop into a full squat. Then, as you rise to standing, press your arms overhead. Lower your hands to shoulders for one rep.
THE WORKOUT Perform each move for 20 to 30 seconds, then rest the same amount of time. Move swiftly through the reps while maintaining form. Complete 2 to 3 sets of each move.
Affix a resistance band to a vertical post (like the side of a rig) at shoulder height. Face away from the attachment point, and hold the band in your left hand. Step forward with your right foot into a lunge. As your left knee nears the ground, press forward with your left arm to perform a single-arm chest press. Draw your fist back toward chest, then press through your right heel and return to stand for one rep. Complete all reps with right foot forward, rest, then switch sides.
photographs by EMILIANO GRANADO
STYLING BY JOHN OLSON; GROOMING BY LAURA COSTA; PRODUCTION BY LOOK SEE PHOTO
Removing gravity from the equation also forces you to remain engaged throughout the entire movement (unlike your fellow gymgoers who let their barbells clang on the ground). That translates to more musclebuilding potential in fewer reps. Try this 30-minute workout, courtesy of Guerrero, two or three times a week.
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3 Alternating Row
TR AINER TIP
Sit with knees bent, feet on the floor. Drape the resistance band over tops of thighs and secure the ends under each foot. Lie back, squeeze glutes and activate core, then press hips toward ceiling. Hold for one second, then lower for one rep.
TR AINER TIP
ON THE ROAD
5 Forward Alternating Punch
7 Band Core Rotation
for one rep. Complete all reps, rest, then switch sides.
8 Lateral Band Walk
6 Bird Dog
Turn Out the Lights Here’s one way to disconnect from our overstimulated world: Retreat to a private, pitch-black, soundproof saline pool, and just float.
A M S U S P E N D E D in abso-
lute darkness—one so complete that when I raise my arm, I see absolutely nothing, not even a suggestion of an outline where my arm might be. I let my hand drop back to my side. It makes a splash, which is the only noise within the eight-by-six-foot tank I am floating in. Completely void of external stimuli, here I am forced to rely only on what my body is telling me. Each inhale that expands my lungs sends shallow ripples in the 96-degree water. Each exhale echoes throughout the chamber. I literally feel my heart thudding inside my chest. My mind feels like it is moving in slowmotion. They may call this sensory deprivation, but in the absence of outside chatter, all I experience is sensory enhancement. And it turns out this absolutely still state has unique health benefits. Sensory-deprivation tanks—aka floatation therapy, aka REST (restricted environmental stimulus therapy)—promise relaxation, stress relief, and muscle recovery. They rose in public awareness in the late ’60s as a prime location for LSD trips and other psychedelic experiences. But the fact that these enclosed, lightless, soundproof pools of saline water are enjoying a resurgence in 2018 says less about a return to tripping and more about just chilling. “We are a fast-moving city with very few options to truly disconnect,” says Alex Charles, manager of Chill Space in New York City. The f loatation center, which opened in 2016 with two tanks, has a steady, diverse clientele: type A Wall Streeters, serious athletes, yogis. Regulars come in as frequently as twice a week. Sessions are an hour; you know your time’s up when the lights inside the chamber gradually illuminate. The isolation is what draws a lot of the
DAVE STAMBOULIS/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Anxious floaters are reminded that they can flip on the lights, open the latch, and scram at any time,
clients. “Many of my CEO patients will go to one of these spots just to disappear for a while,” says Los Angeles–based psychiatrist Judith Orloff, M.D., author of The Empath’s Survival Guide. “No one can reach them. It’s one of the only places you can go and truly be alone with your thoughts.” Clinicians like Orloff recommend sensory-deprivation therapy for some of their anxiety-prone clients—and research is backing them up. “The positive results are astonishing,” says Anette Kjellgren, of the psychology department at Karlstads University in Sweden. In her research involving people suffering from general anxiety disorder, Kjellgren found that after 12 sessions of 45-minute f loats, people said they’d become better at processing emotions and felt more in control of their daily life. Kjellgren speculates that the secluded environment induced feelings of relaxation, which increased self-awareness and self-insight. It may even help spark creativity. “Some of my clients say their biggest innovations have happened while f loating,” says Orloff. “The absence of distractions allows your mind to expand and create.” Filling the vacuous darkness for an hour is easier than you think. As with meditation, Orloff advises focusing on your breathing and to simply “be” in the moment. Some find floating more appealing than traditional meditation because it has a sensual component. “It’s erotic,” says Orloff. “You are cocooned in warm water like a baby in the womb. There is something very pleasant about the feeling.” For me, it took, I’m guessing, at least 15 minutes just to convince my body to relax. The basic idea of even releasing your neck muscles while in water runs counter to instinct. (“If I don’t lift my head, I’ll drown!”) By the time I’d mastered this step, I was so fascinated by my echoing breath that I soon forgot I was in water altogether. I was truly floating, as if it was air, not liquid, holding up my weightless body. Bliss isn’t cheap: An hour is $105 at Chill Space, but the company offers packages for frequent floaters. For some, the mere idea of being trapped
The new generation of tanks eschews the coffin-like size of previous versions— this one is eight feet long and almost five feet wide.
Follow the Leader Late-night bandleader Reggie Watts is known for his music, beatboxing, and comedy. Now he’s adding to his bio: trim and strong.
When I got the Late Late Show With James Corden job in 2014, I had to make a change. For years, I was touring and had put on a lot of weight. I’d get low energy or melancholic, and think that food would make me feel good, so I’d raid the hotel minibar and feel terrible. Then, when I was home in Brooklyn, I had access to a bunch of great new restaurants— and lot of calories. When I moved to Los Angeles, I was tired of being overweight and finally had the chance to do something about it.
Fare and Balanced I started having food delivered by a company called Kore Kitchen. The meals are simple— baked chicken with steamed broccoli, cod with wilted spinach. I love having a modular food system. Two units show up and have enough sustenance for the day—it’s futuristic.
Peer Pressure I saw videos on Instagram of Ron Funches f lipping tires and slapping battle ropes, and I wanted to do it, too. I hired a great trainer, Jorgen de Mey. At f irst, I was huff ing and puffing, but my body adapted quickly. I mostly do basic moves at high intensity—deadlifts, squats, bench and dumbbell chest presses. I’m eight pounds from my goal weight, but already I like that there’s less of me. I can wear cool clothes and not look like a total clown. More importantly, I can sing really hard and dance around onstage and not be out of breath.
ROBYN VON SWANK
I’m a proponent of weed and want it to be part of my new life. So I looked for a product that doesn’t give me food cravings. I discovered Mondo cannabis powder. It doesn’t give you the munchies; it just makes you feel groovy. —As told to J.R. Sullivan
E XPERT TIP
Get a Workout on the Water This summer, put your gym membership on hold. We’ve got three effective ways to get just as limber and sweaty using your favorite summer accessory—the standup paddleboard. by CASSIE SHORTSLEEVE
g MEN’S JOURNAL
g photograph by KELLY FUNK
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: CHILLED-OUT, SIX-PACK, OR SWEATY Simply maintaining solid footing while standing on a paddleboard requires core and quad engagement— but bring yoga movements into the equation and you activate your entire core, strengthening your deepest stabilizer muscles, says Carly Hayden, a yoga expert at the Professional Stand Up Paddleboard Association. If you’re a beginner, set up shop in a calm area. Bring a small dumbbell tied to a rope to use as an anchor on the front of the board. (Savasana isn’t so chill when you’re worried about floating into boat traffic.)
PICK YOUR POISON:
GO FOR REPS:
FINISH IT OFF:
OR MOST OF
us, abs work c ome s a t t he end of the gym session. But by t his point, you’ve probably run out of steam. And are likely lying on the floor. So if you really want to supercharge your core strength, get off the mat and put abs moves at the start of your workout, just after you’ve loosened up. And try the modified front lever, which has you hanging from a pullup bar and engaging your core to perform a lower-body tuck. This has several advantages over traditional crunches or situps. For starters, you aren’t resting your body on the ground, so more of your middle is engaged. “Movements in which you are hanging and bringing your feet all the way up don’t target just one
MOVE OF THE MONTH
Upright Abs The modified front lever is a total-body exercise masquerading as a core move. And after a few reps, you may be begging for crunches. 100
it easier by using a box to reach the bar and stepping off gently, rather than jumping into starting position. And try using a mixed grip (one palm facing out, the other facing you), which will give you a stronger hold on the bar. You can work up to the modif ied front lever with knees to chest (pulling your knees toward your sternum). On the other hand, if you achieve the position easily, try performing the tuck, then extending one leg out at a time. Or extend both legs for a full hollow hold. If you’re missing your postworkout lie down, don’t forget: There’s always foam rolling. Q
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BASIC MADE BE T TER
Elevated Pushups To get stronger shoulders, arms, and chest, get the floor out from under you.
USHUPS HAVE BEEN called the perfect exercise, and for good reason. The bodyweight move hits your upper body, back, and even glutes. It whittles your waist as it works your core. Not to mention endurance—do enough of them and, friends, you will break quite a sweat. If you’re a pushup aficionado and want to give yourself a challenge, here’s one way to step things up: Perform this move on a set of boxes. It will give you room on the down
portion, which translates to more efficient strength-building. “The extra space below increases the difficulty of the exercise but also increases the benefits,” says New York City–based trainer Mohamed Elzomor. “Not only are you working more of the muscle, but because of the longer range of motion, you are keeping your chest under tension for a longer period of time—both of which help you build more muscle, faster.” Try this move only if you have perfect pushup form. If you don’t, you could be set-
Position two short boxes (about 6 inches tall) wider than shoulder-width apart. Throughout the move, maintain a straight line from heels to head. As you come down, think about squeezing your shoulder blades together, then pressing them outward to return to start.
by MARJORIE KORN
ting yourself up for injury because the move is so intense on your muscles and joints. And another thing—make sure to warm up thoroughly. “Even if your muscles have the f lexibility to go down that far, you have to prepare your tissues and tendons for that kind of load,” Elzomor says. There’s another way to keep this move safe: Unlike with regular pushups, you should stay a few reps shy of complete muscle fatigue. That will also avoid an indecorous fall to the ground. Q
You don’t need to drop down too far—only about an inch below your hands. Going farther may strain your shoulder joints. To make it more challenging, elevate your feet on a box, too.
Watch Your Mouth That our oral cavities contain bacteria probably isn’t that surprising. But scientists have found a universe that may hold clues to overall health.
S I F YO U D O N ’ T have enou gh re a s on s t o fe el guilty for avoiding the dentist, it turns out a healthy mout h is linked to a lot more than the absence of cavities and plaque. Researchers say our mouths are home to an ecosystem of billions of bacteria with inf luence far beyond our teeth and gums—inf luence they are just starting to unravel. “We know that oral bacteria affect almost every aspect of our health—metabolism, cardiovascular system, neurological health, and more,” says Yiping Han, a microbiologist at
Columbia Universit y Dent a l and Medical Schools in New York City. S c ient ist s l i ke Han are grappling with questions that w ill change our understanding of how the body works. Not only are they studying the ways bacteria in our mouths interact with one another but they’re also investigating why mouth bacteria show up in other parts of the body, such as the lining of the heart, around tumors, and even in the brain. The idea that our bodies host a world of bacteria may sound familiar. For the past decade, we’ve seen a surge of scientif ic research on the gut microbiome, which describes the bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal tract. Gut bacteria seem to have a hand in a surprising number of functions, from the predictable (like digestion and
nutrient uptake) to the more surprising (obesity and depression). So it makes sense that the next place for a breakthrough would be upstream—the mouth. Scientists have identified 700-plus strains of bacteria swiped from cheeks around the world, which makes the mouth the second-largest microbiome in the body (just behind the GI tract). And they’re trying to figure out the roles of these strains. Sussing out what combination of bacteria makes a person healthy or sick would be a major step in staving off diseases. For instance, certain bacteria are the culprits behind a bunch of maladies that send you to the dentist, like plaque, gum disease, and bad breath. Those kinds of discoveries get dentists excited. That said, what’s really interesting is that oral bacteria pop up all over the body and are linked to a host of other medical issues. This newfound knowledge is made possible by advancements in DNA and RNA decoding, and microscopic imaging. Scientists upload
Illustrations by ERIC CHOW
new information to oral microbiome repositories at the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Ohio State University; and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. This knowledge sharing has helped to unravel some long-standing medical mysteries. For instance, doctors have, for decades, puzzled over why people with cardiovascular issues, like endocarditis (an infection of the lining of the heart) or clogged arteries, also have gum disease. Turns out that the inflamed gums allow oral bacteria to get into the bloodstream, where they can wreak havoc on the heart and vessels. That’s not the only way that bacteria in the mouth end up elsewhere. Swallowing a teaspoon of saliva disperses 5 million bacteria into your digestive tract, says Colleen Cavanaugh, a biology researcher at Harvard University. (Preliminary findings suggest that oral sex can be a conduit, too, Han says.) “It’s a mobile microbiome,” Han says. “There are some bacteria that, when they’re in the mouth, they’re mostly harmless, but when they go to other sites in the body, they become pathogens,” Han says. Take Fusobacterium nucleatum, or Fn for short. In your mouth, it causes dental plaque. But it’s a menace if it encounters a colon cancer tumor. Han’s lab has found that Fn acts as an accelerant, prompting a tumor to grow faster, protecting it from chemotherapy drugs, and encouraging it to metastasize to the liver (which is particularly dangerous). Fn has also been found in the joint f luid in people with rheumatoid arthritis, an inf lammatory disease. And it’s even been detected in brain abscesses, meaning it has the ability to jump the blood-brain barrier, which is quite a feat— very few substances that float in the blood can get to the brain and spinal cord. Does Fn cause colon cancer? No. But down the road, knowing that a patient’s tumor is being bodyguarded by Fn may change the way he’s cared for. And new research suggests that the oral bacteria can also have a direct impact on how cancer plays out. A study published in Scientific Reports found that people who are diagnosed with oral or throat cancers—which are notoriously difficult to treat and have high rates of mortality—had similar oral microbiome compositions. There are a couple of explanations for why people with the same disease would share similar bacteria. It could be that bad habits like drinking, smoking, and poor oral hygiene create the perfect conditions for certain bacteria to grow (and others to die off). Genetics probably play a role, in that a person’s mouth is predisposed to having more of some bacteria, less of others. Most likely, it’s a little bit of both. Regardless, knowing how the microbiome changes composition when it’s sick may help doctors prevent and treat disease. Scientists are interested not only in the bacteria they find but also in what they don’t. A six-year study from the University of Copenhagen finds that not enough of bacteria called
ORAL BACTERIA AFFECT ALMOST EVERY ASPECT OF OUR HEALTH— METABOLISM, CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM, NEUROLOGICAL HEALTH, AND MORE. Lactobacillus can be a predictor of weight gain. We’re not at the place that simply peppering a person’s mouth with some Lactobacillus would get people to drop pounds. But that could be where things are headed. Bacteria also interact with one another. It’s an ecosystem, after all. Decoding these relationships could be the beginning of a new way to treat oral issues, says Ted Jin. He’s the founder of Qii, which makes a canned tea drink designed to encourage balanced mouth bacteria. The beverage is more anti-plaque than anti-cancer, but it’s part of a larger effort by Jin and his team of researchers to understand the intricacies of the mouth biome in order to make better oral-care products down the road. (Imagine: a world without fillings.) What experts are learning about the state of our maws isn’t entirely rosy. For one, MEN’S JOURNAL
there’s a hypothesis that the mouths of people in the U.S. aren’t as diverse as they should be. Crappy, overly processed diet s with too much sugar and not enough fresh produce are not great for a healthy oral ecosystem. Nor is our fascination with all things antibacterial, which is why experts are beginning to discourage patients from using harsh mouthwashes t hat k ill good and bad bacteria indiscriminately. ( T h e Fo o d a n d D r u g Administration banned cer t ain ing redient s in antibacterial hand soap in 2016, in part because they were killing off good bacterial strains and promoting “superbugs.”) These differences may a lso help ex pla in why t here a re a re a s of t he world with less-advanced oral hygiene practices, but where people generally have teeth and gums that are just fine. And in addition to geography and diet, there’s certainly a genetic component to all of this, so if your kid’s got a mouthful of cavities, you’re at least partially to blame. Another upshot to all of this will come in the form of precision medicine. In the future, you may be able to send off some spit and receive back a mouthwash tailored specifically for your oral microbiome, Jin says. If you have too much of a certain bacteria strain, you could swish with a formula that contains another, which would act like a microscopic smart bomb to get conditions like halitosis (bad breath) or gum disease under control. You don’t have to wait for the mouthwash of the future to do right by your mouth. For starters, eat a Mediterranean diet, says Jason Tetro, a visiting scientist at the University of Guelph in Ontario and author of The Germ Code. “Staples of the diet, such as fish and vegetables, have omega fatty acids and phytochemicals,” Tetro says. “And in some cases, things like pomegranates have antimicrobials, which seek out and kill bad bacteria and help maintain a less acidic environment.” His secret weapon against oral inflammation? The sesame paste tahini. It helps promote an alkaline environment in the mouth, Tetro says. So if your maw feels a little sore from fast food or booze, swish with a spoonful of tahini for some low-tech relief. And low-tech is kind of the point. While researchers like Han are teasing out microscopic secrets, one petri dish at a time, what we’re learning seems to substantiate what we already know. Brushing and f lossing is still a great way to keep your oral microbiome healthy. And no more excuses: time to schedule that dentist appointment. Q JULY 2018
Play Football, Doctor’s Orders The research is overwhelming that contact sports cause life-altering concussions. Or is it? One pediatric brain researcher is trying to bring some perspective to the field.
The first time CTE was found in a pro football player was in 2005, but it wasn’t really until about 2010 that concern about sports concussions was starting to become widespread. When did you become involved? In the late 1990s, I spent two years with the Yosemite Search and Rescue Team, mostly living in a tent and eating ramen between rescues. Most of the neurotrauma I saw during rescues with the team was serious. Being able to help with those cases was what led me to specialize in traumatic brain injury. By 2001, we were seeing TBI patients in our clinic, and by 2007, we were starting to see more and more sports concussions, many from football. That was before most of the public thought about brain damage outside of car accidents. By 2012, nearly half of our patients were sports concussions. That was also when we started doing neurological assessments for some of the UCLA varsity teams and for some local high schools. MEN’S JOURNAL
With all the concern about football concussions that came up around that time, how did you come to question the idea that there’s such widespread, severe risk in these sports? It goes back to 2005, when I joined the California State Athletic Commission that regulates boxing and mixed martial arts, to see how big the problems were with brain injury in the sport. The official position of the American Academy of Neurology was that boxing should be banned, but I wanted to understand for myself what was going on. I met a lot of fighters, and to my surprise most of them seemed fine. Some had signs that could be attributable to brain injury, but if long-term brain damage is just a question of how many impacts you suffer, how do you explain why so many of them do so well? What kicked concern into overdrive was the 2017 Boston University study. It looked at the brains of 111 deceased NFL players, and saw what seemed to be signs of CTE in all but
TAMIR KALIFA/THE NEW YORK TIMES/REDUX
hese days it’s hard to have a conversation about football without the topic of concussions arising. Which makes sense. Research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy—the degenerative brain disease that seems to be caused by repeated blows to the head—is exploding and explosive. Some of it even suggests that suffering concussions as a kid can cause depression, memory problems, and violent behavior years later. But what if this new conventional wisdom doesn’t get it quite right? Against this panic, Christopher Giza has been calling for a bit of calm and context. Director of UCLA’s Steve Tisch BrainSport program, Giza is a professor of pediatric neurology and neurosurgery, a heavily published researcher, and has served as an expert on concussions for several contact-heavy sports, including the NFL, Major League Soccer, and the NHL Players’ Association. Before you pull your youngsters from football—or sign them up for it—Giza has some advice.
THE BIG HURT
CONCUSSIONS BEYOND THE GRIDIRON
one player. Isn’t that pretty irrefutable? Right now the data are actually in the middle. The Boston University researchers included only players who had a history of head impacts, a lot of symptoms of brain degeneration, and then died. So it shouldn’t be surprising that their brains showed signs of degeneration. If you’ve put together a bag of apples, you shouldn’t be surprised when you reach in and pull out an apple. Another autopsy study found CTE in contact-sports players at a rate of only 32 percent. There is also a study that followed 3,000 people for decades, and that didn’t find any difference in brain cognition tests between football players and the rest. But all the public hears about are the 110 people in the Boston University study. It sounds like you’re saying that the most highly publicized studies, the ones that have really driven public concern, may have been misleading. The CTE studies of NFL players have really opened awareness about brain injury, and they’ve led to new lines of research. That’s great. The downside is that the results of these few studies have monopolized the discussion, so now anyone who isn’t in favor of really clamping
down on football for safety’s sake is labeled a denier of the science. Look, head injury is the most complex injury to the most complex organ. We have to avoid oversimplifying, and take a more nuanced, less black-and-white view of the risks and benefits of playing, especially for kids. For youth football ages 6 to 12, participation is down nearly 30 percent, in part due to fears over concussions. Nevertheless, millions of younger people are still playing football, as well as skateboarding and playing soccer, and the occasional concussion is inevitable. Is it possible to reduce the risks of damage from a collision? Animal research has shown that if there’s some time between concussive impacts, brains seem to recover. But repeated concussions at close intervals, before the brain has a chance to recover, tends to lead to more severe symptoms—such as memory impairment. That’s why when there’s any doubt, take the player out. After a concussion is diagnosed, have your child take it very easy for a few days. But keep in mind that prolonged inactivity tends to lengthen recovery time. Light exercise after a few days is good, and then work up to heavier exercise over the next week or two. MEN’S JOURNAL
Health News How Pollution Affects Your Run It’s not just an urban legend. Exercising in dirty city air can negate some of the positive effects of your workout. It’s particularly true in summertime when you’re spending more hours exercising outdoors, and the sun and heat intensify pollutants such as car exhaust to create smog. According to a study published in the British medical journal The Lancet, people with compromised pulmonary systems had the positive effects of exercise on their hearts and lungs entirely canceled out when they went for a two-hour walk on a busy street, versus rambling in a park. Healthy folks won’t have as severe a reaction (their lungs are better equipped to filter out toxins), but researchers say even they should minimize exercising on crowded roadways, which can curtail cardiorespiratory benefits. To reap the benefits of exercise minus the pollution, work out in the early morning or after dusk, avoid running along busy highways or at rush hour, and pay attention to air quality alert days in your area—if it’s bad, hit the treadmill.
Cool Down When the Race Heats Up
BEER THAT’S GOOD FOR YOUR WORKOUT
A pilsner with fitness perks? Genius. Made by athletes, for athletes, Sufferfest is the label every running and tri club will be celebrating races with this summer. “Sharing post-race beers is a big part of the running community,” says Caitlin Landesberg, a Californiabased trail runner and Sufferfest founder. Look for the just-released FKT (an athlete’s acronym for fastestknown time). All the beers are gluten-free, but FKT is an electrolyte-enhanced brew that includes a bump of vitamin C from black currant. “As long as you’re drinking it after a hard effort, it made sense to create options with recovery benefits, as well,” Landsberg says. Get yours at CraftCity.com. MEN’S JOURNAL
FROM TOP: OFFSET; COURTESY OF SUFFERFEST
Running or biking in hot temperatures can really slow you down, but a new study in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance found that downing a tall glass of crushed ice right before a workout or race helps. According to researchers, 16 ounces of slurpy-style ice lowers your sweat rate and perceived effort, making it easier to push yourself more than you would normally in hot conditions. The benefits, which scientists attribute to a lower core temperature, are akin to spending 12 days in a heatacclimating training camp.
EXPERT ADVICE I spend a lot of time planning my workouts but not much on my diet. Where do I begin?
Increase in daily dairy intake required for higher bone mineral density and spinal strength in men. Most men are one cup short of the recommended 3 cups a day, so adding another carton of yogurt or chunk of Parmesan—especially if you’re over 50—can keep you strong for the long haul. —JOURNAL OF BONE AND MINERAL RESEARCH
STAY ACTIVE FOR YOUR ( FUTURE ) KIDS
FROM TOP: ASCENT/PKS MEDIA INC./GETTY IMAGES; DARREN MUIR/OFFSET
If you plan to have kids, make sure to work on both your brains and your brawn—simultaneously. Research from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease finds doing activities that are both mentally and physically stimulating triggers a genetic change in sperm, influencing the offspring’s capacity to learn. And the effects happen very fast— Andre Fischer, an expert in neurodegenerative diseases, suspects it takes as little as two months for RNA changes to occur. Sign up for activities that involve both brain power and physical output, such as dancing, running on trails, and even playing a musical instrument.
The Case for Letting It Go We tend to think that big, stressful events (death in the family, divorce) are the ones most detrimental to our health. But the everyday ones matter just as much. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine surveyed more than 1,000 people, asking them to document their daily stress caused by things like an argument, a work issue, or something bad happening to a friend, as well their physical activities, for about a week. Ten years later, they followed up to find out whether participants had chronic illnesses, heart disease, or cancer. They found that those who habitually let go of negative emotions have better overall health later in life. It’s possible that holding on to negative emotions is tied with traits such as neuroticism, rumination, and depression, which can manifest as health issues.
illustration by MICHAEL HOEWELER
THE LEGEND OF JOHN ARTHUR
continued from page 85
Hispanic and African-American gangs. “They needed a streetwise undercover agent,” Arthur recalls, “and I could get in and bust anyone.” After setting up his wife and daughter in a house in a middle-class neighborhood on the southern edge of Atlanta, Arthur began working GBI cases from organized crime to anti-terror squads, sometimes going undercover for a month or more without a break. Working under the guise of a local DJ, Arthur spent weeks in clubs, gaining leads, and then, once he found his target, earning a reputation in the most direct way possible—holding up another drug dealer. “I used to rob drug houses for a living,” he says. “It was my way to get in.” One of his first busts was a dealer named Rico, a local kingpin who tried to sell Arthur some fake cocaine. Knowing he couldn’t afford to lose face on the streets, Arthur retaliated by grabbing a trench coat and a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun and waited outside Rico’s drug house alone one night. Catching the dealer by surprise, Arthur shoved him through the front door, entering to find a group of men cutting cocaine at a table. “One of them said, “Who the fuck is this?’ ” Arthur recalls. “I hit Rico in the face with the butt of the shotgun and said, ‘Man, I’m here to get your goddamn dope—and I’ll kill everybody at the damn table.’” Caught off guard, the men obeyed, filling a duffel bag with all their cocaine. Arthur grabbed the bag and ran out the door, dropping the dope at a crime lab, knowing he’d made his entry into the Atlanta underworld. “Nobody had balls enough to go there and do that,” Arthur says. “From that point on, I knew a contract was out on my life—but I was in with the other dealers.” In the GBI, Arthur soon gained a reputation for getting the job done while operating on the fringes of the law. “John was a rough character,” recalls Gary Lovett, a former cop in Atlanta who worked drug cases alongside Arthur. “The first time I met him was in a drug shoot-out. He stormed the top of a hill with us in a crossfire against a guy with a rifle. I mean, his type of street was a lot different from everybody else’s. Being from Chicago and knowing martial arts put him at the top, but he beat up guys so bad he got in trouble.” Neely says Internal Affairs never understood Arthur’s methods. “They never worked the streets,” he says. “Robbing a drug house is extremely dangerous—and a court looks at it negatively—but it gets you on the inside. You have to be a bigger thug than the dealers. I mean, these were top-level guys who would cut your throat and throw you in a ditch. But John had been shot and stabbed and knew how to survive. John was tougher.” For protection, Arthur turned to an AfricanAmerican squad commander named D.T. “Cap” Adams, a soft-spoken Morehouse College grad and Green Beret fresh out of Vietnam who watched over the black agents. “Back then, the Klan could be the police chief, the mayor—you 110
couldn’t even trust some of the people in the GBI,” recalls Neely. “Cap brought a sense of closeness to our group. You could talk to him about anything.” Recalling his former superior, Arthur just smiles: “Cap kept my ass from getting fired.” Knowing he was under tight watch and not sure who was on his side, Arthur once again started calling in his Chicago friend, Reid, as the only backup he could trust. “He felt like all eyes were on him, waiting for him to screw up, so he’d call me down to help on stings,” says Reid. “It was totally illegal, but then again John was dirty—all cops are dirty.” As an undercover agent, Arthur took no chances. At all times, he wore a .357 Magnum under his shoulder and a snub-nosed .38 on his ankle, paying extra for hollow-point bullets that would expand upon entry, ensuring anyone he shot stayed down. Along the way, he suffered his own injuries. He got shot in the back, hit in the chest with a shotgun, and stabbed in the hamstring. Breaking up an armed robbery one night, he shot a victim in the back, becoming the target of a prolonged IA investigation. In a movie theater shoot-out, he took a bullet to the head while killing the perpetrator. He walked out drenched in blood and was immediately rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. Instead of hiding, Arthur embraced his outlaw reputation. Muscle-bound with a thick mustache and gleaming Jheri curls, he wore a bullet around his neck—one a doctor had dug out of him. He dressed in boots, belt buckles, and a cowboy hat, retreating to his farm and horses near Griffin whenever possible to keep some semblance of normalcy. Just as in Griffin, Arthur refused to apologize for his methods. “My daddy always told me, ‘Better to get tried by 12 than buried by one,’ ” he says. Increasingly in demand for cases throughout the South, Arthur began working on exchange programs with the FBI, DEA, and ATF, traveling constantly below the MasonDixon line to nab everyone from gunrunners to mobsters to killers. While working undercover, Arthur was often gone for weeks at a time, his only communication a brief call to his wife, Jeri, from a public pay phone. Supportive and strong-willed, Jeri was the bedrock for Arthur, the one constant he could hold on to amid the criminals. Rattled from his time alongside crooks, Arthur would always ensure he cooled off for a few days at an apartment he kept in southern Atlanta or at his farm with his horses before returning home. He never wanted to expose his burden to his family. “My daddy was a black cowboy,” says his daughter, Jonvette. “He lived in the world of gangsters, but he always protected me.” But one case would ultimately involve Arthur’s family, nearly killing them all. In 1978, Arthur got a lead on an organized crime family from Miami who were trying to establish a new cocaine operation in Atlanta. Using his street cred, Arthur became the personal bodyguard for the head of the family, a Cuban immigrant known as Sanchez who favored MEN’S JOURNAL
custom-made suits, rarely spoke English, and always traveled with his two nephews. At one point, Arthur was accompanying Sanchez on a debt-collection run at a pawnshop when the store owner pulled a gun, shooting a nephew and then training the pistol on the old man. Thinking fast, Arthur talked the man down, made him lower his weapon—and then shot him three times. “I tore his ass up,” Arthur says. “Then I was in deep with those guys.” Having now earned their trust, Arthur began accompanying Sanchez everywhere, driving him to pick up cocaine shipments flown in from Miami on planes that landed in rural fields. The deeper Arthur got, the more dangerous the stakes became. Another undercover agent was killed by Sanchez on suspicion of being a cop. Finally, perhaps tipped off by an inside informant, the Miami kingpin discovered Arthur himself was working undercover. Arthur’s apartment was firebombed in the middle of the night, so he took his family and disappeared. The FBI made it appear as if he was dead, and Arthur only came out of the shadows when the Miami don went to court. “Sanchez stared at me, whispered something to his lawyer, and then he approached the bench, changing his plea to guilty,” Arthur recalls. “I didn’t even have to take the stand.” By 1982, Arthur was one of the top undercover agents for the bureau, renowned across the South, but the long hours were fraying his family, a toll that only worsened when Jeri was diagnosed with breast cancer. Undone and overworked, Arthur began to lose his grip while struggling with the grief. “I’d go rob drug houses with a shotgun, saying, ‘It’s a good day to die,’” Arthur recalls. “At that point and time, I didn’t care. I didn’t want to be here without my wife.” While working on an undercover sting for the FBI in Nashville, Arthur received word that Jeri had been moved to intensive care in Atlanta. Not allowed to leave the case, Arthur got himself arrested and then conned his way out of jail by using another prisoner’s ID. He called Reid and told him to come down from Chicago and drive him to Atlanta. Arthur arrived just in time to see his wife pass away. Returning to their apartment with his little girl after the funeral, Arthur lost control. “My daddy broke down,” Jonvette recalls. “He’d come up against all these tough guys and now he was scared: How was he going to raise this girl?” For the next eight months, overcome with depression and unable to step foot in his home with its reminders of Jeri, Arthur took leave from the GBI to move into his safe-house apartment in south Atlanta. “I didn’t want to talk to nobody, didn’t want to see nobody,” Arthur recalls. “It was crazy, but I didn’t want to do anything—I was in a very dark space.” After nearly a year of self-imposed solitude, Arthur was visited by an agent of the GBI: He was wanted on the job. “He said, ‘Hey man, you’ve got to move on,’ ” Arthur recalls. Leaving Jonvette with his sister, Arthur returned to his work as an undercover agent. He began asking for the most
dangerous cases, which soon led him to a sting operation in the small Georgia town of Albany. Grappling with a rise in crime, the local police had requested help to nab traffickers moving drugs, prostitutes, and guns. Walking into town without knowing a soul, Arthur settled onto a barstool at a seedy local lounge—and was immediately pickpocketed by a prostitute on an adjoining stool. He asked her to come close, then shoved his hand down her pants and grabbed his wallet back. “I said, ‘Look here bitch, don’t you ever try to roll me,’ ” Arthur recalls. “She said, ‘You better leave. I’m going to get Big Red.’ ” Waiting at the bar, Arthur called in for backup from the GBI, telling them something was about to happen. “I knew these guys were coming in to kill me,” he says. “But I didn’t care if I lived or died. I really didn’t give a damn. If I got killed, I just wanted somebody to know where I was.” A large African-American man with freckles and reddish hair arrived with a gang in tow, everyone surrounding Arthur. “Big Red said, ‘You fuckin’ with my ho? Motherfucker, you’re in the wrong neighborhood to be talking shit,’ ” Arthur recalls. “I just took out my gun from its holster and put it in my front waistline, where everyone could see it, and said, ‘Listen, we can walk outside and talk like gentlemen or we can goddamn shoot it out here and act like goddamn fools.’ ” Arthur and Big Red stared each other down, the entire bar still, until the local crime boss ultimately blinked and backed down. “He said, ‘Come on, partner,’ ” Arthur recalls. “ ‘Let’s talk.’ ” Arthur’s cover as a crime boss now secured, he stayed on to work the Albany case for months, ultimately busting a traff icking network extending across the South. But his heart was no longer in the job. Knowing he couldn’t continue as an undercover agent and be there for his daughter, he began looking for other options. A childhood friend from the projects in Chicago, Laurence Tureaud, had remade himself as the feather-boaed Mr. T in Hollywood, finding fame and fortune on TV. Arthur began wrangling freelance security work on The A- Team, f lying west on weekends, and quickly realized this was his chance for a new life. “I was making more money in Hollywood in a week than I made in a whole year at the bureau,” Arthur says. “All for my daughter.” After securing a full-time security job, Arthur quit the bureau and drove west, determined to start over. “I was ready to go,” he says. “I wanted to try something new, and I always loved cowboy pictures.”
BACK IN THE RING “The people here can be as plastic as credit cards,” Arthur says while biting into a hot pastrami sandwich at a deli in the Valley last December, motioning to the surrounding restaurant, its photos of celebrities, and the whole of Los Angeles. “But I never did mind. It’s always been about the job.” In 1986, after moving to L.A., Arthur worked security for everyone from The A-Team to the production companies on Burt Reynolds’ films. He founded his own company, J. Edward Protective Service, staffing it with former cops. In truth, Arthur had been working part-time gigs on film sets for more than a decade, moonlighting with other GBI agents as bodyguards on locally shot films like Smoky and the Bandit and Sharky’s Machine, a 1981 Reynolds film about a vice detective in Atlanta. “They hired John because of his narcotics background,” says Neely. “Burt was fascinated with him.” For Arthur’s part, after moving to L.A., he soon found the work less than compelling. “It was pretty calm,” he says. “Mr. T was the flavor of the month, so we’d have to push away the occasional irate fan, but that was about it. It was easy.” Still depressed over the loss of his wife, Arthur remained withdrawn, eventually finding solace in a new relationship with Margaret Lewis, the mother of child star Emmanuel Lewis of Webster sitcom fame. Arthur had first met Margaret in 1984 in New York while working security on A Christmas Dream, an NBC special featuring Mr. T as a street-corner Santa Claus alongside Emmanuel. When Arthur later moved to L.A., he and Margaret reconnected, in time getting married and wrangling their combined family of four for a few hectic years until the relationship ended. Distraught and alone for the second time in his life, Arthur finally turned his back on Hollywood in 1997, going to work for another fighter he’d met on the circuit, Billy Blanks. He gave boxing classes and ultimately became a fulltime trainer, one day taking on a washed-up outlaw fighter brought to the gym—Toney. “He looked terrible,” Arthur recalls. “Out of shape, with a fat stomach like he’d just swallowed two watermelons.” For months he worked to bring Toney back to life, their sparring sessions drawing crowds. Eventually, Arthur earned a new reputation, one that would bring him more boxers: the toughest fight trainer in the business. “I told James what I tell every fighter,” Arthur recalls. “You’re not living in your house—you’re living in the house of John Arthur.” These days, working with young fighters and troubled kids gives Arthur deep satisfaction. “If it wasn’t for the Greek, I’d probably be
in jail or dead,” he says. “I was headed to a bad place and he turned me around, saving my life. So when I look at a fighter, I look at him as a human being—I try to see him as I must have been at 14, back when I had attitude.” Today, even outside the ring, Arthur uses his incredible network of contacts to help friends and family in danger. When his daughter was 18 and got pulled over in Atlanta in a friend’s car with alcohol and drugs, Arthur called up a local judge to take care of the charges. “The judge took me back in his chamber, lit a cigarette and said, ‘Your daddy once took two bullets for me,’ ” Jonvette recalls. “I was like, ‘Who the hell is this?’ He then drove me home in his Mercedes Coupe and threw out the case. My daddy is a respected man.” Billy Blanks tells a story about a woman whose son was taken by the Mafia. “He made a call, and within 24 hours she had her son back,” Blanks says. “Pops don’t play around.” Now, with Legends, Arthur is ready to take his own crew of elite fighters to the top, but he feels the clock ticking. In recent years, he’s overcome a heart attack and encroaching arthritis—not to mention a lifetime of injuries that never fully healed—but he exercises daily, working to keep one step ahead of his boxers. “I’m slower now, but staying in shape,” he says. “Even now, I can still turn it on.” Sometimes, he thinks about the men he shot in the line of duty, their faces still vivid in his mind. “I still wonder, could I not have shot him?” he says of one victim. Other times, he gets worked up over politics and Donald Trump: “Racism’s coming back around in America.” But, in the end, Shirlyn always soothes him. Most nights they just sit around and watch old westerns. “I don’t care about the plot,” says Arthur. “I stare at the animals. I miss the country sometimes.” Arthur’s connection to violence has been a hallmark of his life, yet he never revels in it. It’s just a fact of his existence, like growing up poor and black in the South Side of Chicago. He feels an appreciation for what fighting has brought him—the only undercover case he ever turned down was one busting an illegal fighting ring in Georgia—but also knows it has caused plenty of pain. Sitting at home watching westerns is never going to be anything but a temporary salve. “I’ve been to some dark places,” he says, rubbing his face, the scar from a bullet that entered his head still visible above his right ear. “That’s why fighters trust me. They’re in some dark places, too. I’m always damn straight with them. In life, there’s good and there’s bad—but don’t ever take your chances with anything in between.” MJ
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Craig T. Nelson Who was the biggest influence in your life? You know, I sat down and talked with Marlon Brando. That was wonderful; I actually worked with him. Met John Wayne, had a talk with him. Really admired Ernest Borgnine. Kirk Douglas—I remember going to see Spartacus in high school. Then years later, I get a chance to work with him. That’s pretty neat. You drive race cars for fun. What role should fear play in a man’s life? My default as a young man was always rage. I could hold on to it for a while, but eventually it would boil over. And it was really coming from fear, so I had to figure out why there was so much fear in my life. Race cars kind of forced me to overcome that. It was a struggle, but eventually I came to enjoy the speed and the challenge of being on a racetrack with other cars. And after a while, it had nothing to do with courage or fear—you just practiced to become better and perfect it. What advice would you give to your younger self? Be kinder. How should a man handle criticism? Criticism can be devastating, but sometimes it’s extremely valuable. I just try to not really care about it one way or the other.
ness and survive in some way that they couldn’t touch me.
My kids know I love them. They love me. This is as good as it gets.
Your family was on welfare for a while then. What was that like? The thing about it for me was how people looked at you, that feeling of…I don’t want to say worthlessness, but a feeling of “less than.” I never quite forgot that.
Politically you seem to lean more toward the right than most people in Hollywood. Does it get lonely? I’m actually quite liberal in many ways. In other ways, I’m very conservative. So yes, there are certain viewpoints that I don’t agree with, but so what? They don’t agree with mine. That’s just the way it is. We don’t have to get lost behind it or antagonistic.
What is the secret to a happy marriage? Say yes a lot.
What did you learn from that experience? I learned how to survive—and at the same time developed...I guess, a certain awareness that I could come back into this busi-
How should a man handle getting older? That’s always the thing—you’re facing death. But I’m really comfortable with who I am and what I’ve done. I’m at peace.
How has being a father and grandfather changed you? It’s been a journey, growing with the kids, learning how to be patient, how to be a patriarch. I lost my parents when I was a kid, so I want to make sure I’m responsible and someone they can rely on. That’s really important to me.
Considering that you are returning as the voice of Mr. Incredible, in Incredibles 2, I have to ask: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Forgiveness. You don’t often hear forgiveness described as a superpower. It’s a little-known commodity, little used. There’s an awful lot of judgment and selfrighteousness. But forgiveness is hard to come by. —INTERVIEW BY RYAN KROGH
Early in your career, you left Hollywood to live in a cabin in the mountains without electricity or running water. Why? I was really discouraged with what I was doing, so I just decided to pack up and leave. I went up to Northern California and built a log cabin. I had my wife and two kids, and then we had a third child there. I didn’t have any money—I was a logger, a surveyor, a janitor. I taught school for a while.